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Happy Birthday Belgin!!!!!

 Dear Belgin -- I hope you are having a wonderful, delicious, delightful birthday!!!!

love and kisses!  Paula

Making art to throw away . . .

 Yes, you did read that right . . . recently a good friend of mine posted the following:  "You should sometimes purposely make art that you plan to throw away. That is a lot easier to do when you are 6 than when you are nearly 60. I guess we figure by now we should be less frivolous."  Which got me to thinking about how to encourage myself and others to really, truly DO this.  Why, you may well ask . . . because I think it is crucial to the creative process, and I think we all forget it is an option from time to time. 

When I was learning to draw I was very often very unhappy with the results.  I was doubly frustrated when the doodles, which I did obsessively in the margins of notebooks during classes and meetings or on the backs of envelopes while chatting on the phone, turned out better than my formal attempts at drawing!  If you ever feel this way, I'd like to suggest a radical move -- make art destined for the dustbin!

"What??!?!? Is she crazy??" I hear you asking " . . . invest my limited time and materials and then THROW IT ALL AWAY?!?!?!?" RELAX . . . and consider 3 things:
1) we often fail under pressure
2) masterpieces have been drawn on re-used paper with burnt matchsticks
3) :-) you can always change your mind!

Allow me to elaborate.

1) a blank canvas, a fresh sketch pad, an expensive piece of handmade watercolor paper, a block of Parian marble, a cherrywood burl . . . untouched, pure, intimidating . . . we feel immense pressure to "get it right" or "do something really creative". . . sometimes it paralyzes us and sometimes we start, but then fuss too much and ruin it anyway -- and occasionally we get it exactly right -- usually when we are touched by a creative grace that pulls us along without too much "thought".  If we release ourselves from the pressure of 'getting it right' we invite that creative grace into our lives.

2) tools don't make the artist, nor do materials - don't get me wrong, good materials are worth their weight in gold, and that's often what we feel we've paid for them when we get to the checkout in the art supply store. Then we think "gee, I spent so much money, I'd better not waste any of this stuff"  more pressure -- newsflash: NONE of this stuff is EVER wasted!  If it forwards the creative process, even if you throw it away, it wasn't wasted.

3) If you produce something amazing on your kid's lunch sack, you don't HAVE TO throw it away (oh yeah!)

So, what's the point?  The Point is to give yourself freedom and permission to fail . . . to be a kid with a huge stack of scrap paper from dad's office and a coffee can full of crayons -- try stuff, discard the "oops" and "yuck" ones and use the others to inspire your more serious artwork.

Color outside your mental lines.  The projects don't have to be amateurish, but they should be ultimately disposable . . . it is the possibility to throw it away without guilt that frees your creative risk-taking self. It's a lot easier to toss the flubs if it is only your time, and not expensive materials that you are tossing out.  Furthermore, if you can create something you like a lot with basic, cheap materials, just think what you can do when you take that same idea and do a 'second draft' with better materials! :-)  . . . (and no, you won't just 'mess it up' the second time . . . if you did it once, believe me, you CAN do it again.)

Few of us would even consider writing something for public consumption, without doing drafts, and yet somehow we often feel compelled to sit down and magically 'create' an artwork without the benefit of 'rewrites' -- give yourself a break.  

I'm not suggesting using materials so inferior that they frustrate the creative process, but I am in favor of simplicity . . . get out the crayons, the colored pencil or the tempera paints.  Use the backs of gift boxes, the reverse side of watercolors or drawings that didn't succeed, butcher paper, grocery bags, scraps of matte board . . . I've had a lot of fun with shopping bags from expensive boutiques, which are often made out of really NICE paper and usually only have a small, discreet, classy logo on them -- cut them up and play!  Go crazy, experiment -- you were going to throw it out anyway . . .

Freed from the pressure of not wasting materials and not having to "get it right", you may find that your muse visits you a lot more often, after all, muses just want to have fun!

somebody shook the snowglobe!

 So here I sit on a very snowy afternoon . . . thinking about how to possibly capture the odd blue quality of light inside a snowstorm . . .  hmmmm

It is 4pm and the world has gone all icy blue, it is snowing huge flakes and alternating drifting down and snowing sideways when the wind gusts pick up.  I have always loved watching snow fall, it is mesmerizing . . . now - how to translate that into art ?. . .  good question, so far no inspired answer from my brain.

It is impossible to truly say if I will get tired of winter before winter gets tired of being here . . . but since I don't have to drive in it, nor shovel it, I think will just enjoy it after many years without snow. Fortunately our flat is pretty toasty and we have plenty of hot cocoa and other warming bevvys, so life is generally very cozy.

Let it snow!

winter closing in

 So here I sit on a grey windy Wednesday, with a a sky full of potential sleet/snow just waiting to drop . . . waiting for what I have no idea . . . the temps are hovering near the freezing mark and it is windy and a bit raw.  Yesterday morning everything was covered in a thick rime of frost, that sparkled with a pinkish-peachy glow as the sun rose (Tuesday is one of my early days!)  snow is predicted by the end of the week here, it snowed already in the alps and in Poland, so I suspect they are probably correct.

I'm still struggling with my lack of space issues and suffering from some of my supplies being still stranded in Turkey, but I am determined to get back into experimental mode and get some mixed media things going.  

I'm also feeling a bit down on account of the 1 year anniversary of my mom's death, the day of which actually slipped by smoothly, being in Vienna and all, but now I'm feeling a bit bluer than I'd like and trying to find my way through it to the other side, or somewhere . . .

I guess the weather matches my mood . . . .

Van Gogh in Vienna!

 OK Zeebahs, I'm off to Vienna to see a major Van Gogh exhibition at the Albertina museum.  Tickets bought online and printed out, meeting Steve in Ceska Trebova (the main train station nearest us) and we are taking a 3:10 train to Vienna.  We are couch surfing with a couple named Helene and Peter, who have a terrific sense of humor . . . we will see the show on Saturday (tomorrow) and who knows what else.  On Sunday we will have lunch with a former student of Steve's at a traditional schnitzel house and possibly tea with our host from our summer stay in Vienna!  

It promises to be a busy, sensory overloading weekend, and I promise to share as soon as possible after my return on Monday . . . but don't expect anything major before Wednesday, as TU is my very loooonnnnnng day . . .

Hope you all have WONDERFUL Creative weekends . . .

love ya!


Oct. 28th, 2008

 So today is a national holiday here in the Czech Republic . . . but the odd thing is that it marks the founding of Czechoslovakia, a country which no longer exists!?!?!?  The way my students explained it to me was that the founding of Czechoslovakia paved the way for the founding of the Czech Republic, and reclaimed their cultural identity after centuries of domination by the others, the Hapsburgs having been the most recent at the  time (of course then they were again taken over, first by Nazi Germany and then the Soviets, but I digress)

At any rate it is a holiday and things are very quiet in our little town . . . barely even any traffic, which is unusual since across the river behind our block of flats is a major east-west highway.  all the businesses are shuttered and most people have gone to their cottages or are puttering about getting their gardens tucked-in for the winter, which is looming . . . as the long-range forecast is calling for possible sleet and flurries within the next two weeks.

Unlike the USA with it penchant for moving every holiday to a Monday to provide a 3-day weekend, here holidays fall where they may, and everyone takes 'bridge-days"  so, for example, most of the schools are closed M-T-W giving people a 5-day holiday . . . very nice. Many companies were closed M-T for a 4 day weekend . . . and some only T.  I had to teach on Monday but have T-W free, T because of the holiday directly and W because all my students asked to reschedule.

Of course with the change of seasons there are plenty of cold virii flying about and I managed to intercept one, despite my best efforts to the contrary. SO now i have two days off and am spending being far too friendly with tissues and tea, lacking much oomph for any creative endeavors . . . but I'm going to try and rally myself for at least a couple of short sessions in the euphemistically titlted "studio" ( a corner of our fortunately spacious  bedroom).