Wonder, through secret doors; Inspiration from Mac Barnett

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Sometimes I find something the boys have added to my curated selection of their art work hanging in the playroom. I love when they deem something worthy of hanging. I have no idea what this piece is about, but I love how mysterious this door is and its interesting shape created by cutting and folding the edges of the bold yellow paper. It’s like an invitation into another world, maybe a world filled with beautiful blue and green streams and little houses atop bright green trees that can only be reached by ladders….

Did you know I studied creative writing and later received an MFA in children’s book illustration? Story telling with art is my passion, and Mac speaks my language. I believe the best kind of doors we can open and enter into are found in our imagination. It’s so hard for me to articulate the beauty and power and importance I feel that is using one’s imagination. So, I’ll let Mac Barnett explain in his inspiring Ted Talk…

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My Art, My Struggle

Hello. To me. And to maybe one reader, whom I think is capable of understanding and even valuing my crazy, so I’ll continue. I actually rarely put people in the category of being able to understand- my fault, not theirs. I mention this because I’ve struggled for a while with thoughts on what I’d like this blog to be. And the idea I keep coming back to and can’t move past feels really scary, because I fear judgement. I fear not being understood, or sounding crazy, or worst of all being pitied. However, here I am, because my thoughts aren’t leaving, and in this case it seems like fear is more indicative of what is right than what is not.

So, what are these thoughts/ ideas for a blog that I keep coming back to? If only I could very succinctly explain my thoughts. I’m pretty scattered, but here’s the gist- I’m struggling as a mama. I’m struggling as an artist. I’m really struggling trying to figure out how to be both mom and artist, both artist and mom. I’m not even sure what order to put these in, both are equally important parts of who I am (fear of judgement from other moms now), but it’s the truth. I know there are other mamas who can relate. I know there are others who agree being a mom is the hardest work of our life. So, I’m going to try really hard to believe that truth, and ignore my fear of judgement from those who find the mom job easy and fulfilling.

I also know I’m not the only creative who struggles, big time. However, it is so easy for me to see beautiful posts and prolific artists on Instagram and convince myself that without a doubt I’m the only one struggling and no one else could possibly understand. But then one day I googled “best books for creative inspiration.” I had no idea! There are so many books out there written to help creatives through their struggles. I proceeded to order and devour a couple of these books. They are written by creatives who completely understand the struggle. How do they understand so well? They have without a doubt walked through these struggles; I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE! Really, it’s as if they could see all of my doubt and fear and struggle and resistance, and express these feelings, my feelings, much more articulately than I could ever attempt to.

So, back to the idea for this blog. Did I mention I’m a little scattered? I actually don’t have a clear path laid out. I’ve been delaying for way too long because of this. So, I’m thankful to be starting to accept the only way to figure out how to reign in my focus is to start writing. And this post is a start! Loosely there are two types of posts I’d like to include:

My Art

I’d like to focus on my art: what I’m creating, how I work, where I’m inspired, and what my process is like . *fun, colorful, light, happy posts*

My Struggle

I’d also like to share what I’m learning as I continue to struggle as a mom and an artist. I’m hoping this outlet will help me through some of my struggles. *raw, beautiful, challenging, authentic posts*

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*because I’ve mentioned the two titles I’m struggling to reconcile, both mom and artist, I’m happy to have started another blog with ALL THE PHOTOS of family, fun, beauty, and the joy of motherhood. There might be a little bit of overlap on here, but for the majority this blog is written by me, the artist.

through the view finder

Well, it’s been a while. It’s been over three years actually. It’s true I have a very sensitive 3.5-year-old and a feisty 2-year-old, which means I was pregnant and/or nursing for over three consecutive blurry years. This seems the likely excuse for my blogging hiatus. However, the real reason is that in July of 2012, I held an iPhone for the first time. Life changing.

My last post on my old blog was July 12, 2012. It’s no coincidence. I stopped picking up my SLR camera to capture life and beauty around me and instead just used my phone. It was always so convenient. The thing about using my phone to capture moments of beauty is I didn’t have to slow down to look through a view finder. I rarely would even change my position to get a better shot. It just all became so quick and easy. Then I ended up with thousands of sub par photos. I’m slowly working on editing these, but really, it’s too many.

After the addition of an iPhone in 2012, I also rarely opened my computer. Again, it was so quick and easy to do what I needed to on my phone, so convenient. So, I stopped reading blogs. I stopped blogging. I stopped slowing down to think and read and write.

dslrI miss looking through the view finder. I miss getting my camera out and taking photos with intention. I miss blogging, discovering and processing what I think. I miss my flip phone. But, there’s no going back, and of course I recognize the benefits of this sleek phone that has a built-in camera, and┬ámap. I’m hoping to practice using it for what it is though. It’s like instant coffee. I’d never drink the stuff but it is an amazing and necessary addition to my Mocha Rocky Road Oatmeal Cookies and Ina’s Decadent Chocolate Cake. Amazing. Life changing. But I’m not about to give up my real freshly roasted dark aromatic coffee for an instant variety, even if it is more convenient.

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So, here’s to becoming reacquainted with my view finder and my keyboard. Here’s to looking and thinking, to slowing down and creating for more than just an instant.┬áHere’s to removing a lens cap, squatting, squinting, focusing, and seeing life through the view finder again. It’s called the view finder. Here’s to taking the time to think out my thoughts. Here’s to finding and seeing moments of beauty around me and to using my creative brain in whatever outlets I’m given during this blurry stage of life. Here’s to wrapping my hands around these moments and slowly drinking in every sip.