Anyone who is familiar with my me or my art, knows that since Dash came into my life four years ago, I have become an official dog-nut. My art is filled with dogs and my head is filled with dogs. I read articles, magazines and books about dogs. I watch all the dog trainers on TV. I check in on Petfinder almost every day to see what dogs are needing homes. I don't have one, but I would wear one of those t-shirts that reads "I'd rather be with my dog." or "Life is better with a dog." - because it's true.
In June 2020, we got Jake, who I fell head over heels in love with and then he tragically died in early September. In late September Ram arrived, via what I can only describe as, Divine Intervention.
Looking back, I saw that in 2021 I only wrote one blog - in January, about a 100 Days of Decluttering project that I was starting and the space doing so would open up in my art-making. One hundred days later, around the beginning of April, the thing that started filling that big space that opened up, turned out to be our puppy Ram. Ram has grown from a sweet little five pound puppy with expressive eyes and a worried brow to a 14 and half pound adolescent with the same adorable features. When I first saw his photo from the Three Little Pitties Rescue group coordinator, I could tell that he didn't have the confidence of either Dash or Jake, but I had a compelling feeling that he was to be our dog.
Now, almost a year and half later, I understand how everything in his story fits together. I'm beginning a different approach to being an artist with this blog post - adding DOGS to my blog because my dogs add so much to my art. Now my art can be a platform at this time to share the story of a little dog with a big anxiety disorder who is teaching me so much, as my husband and I come to better understand how Ram perceives the world and what we can do to help him have a great doggie life.
I hope you will follow along this year as I share my discoveries as I make art with dogs in mind and share how dogs and making art wind their way around each other to create something special to me.
2020 was the ultimate year of clutter. There was too much BS out there. Too much hatred and fear-mongering, ignorance, stupidity, illness, cruelty and death, so much death. By the end of the year, I had lost my energy, motivation and all inspiration and hope to create a more beautiful world. Now it's 2021 and am recovering from an exhausted state of mind and physically from a cough (not covid) that lingered for over a month. So what am I inspired to do?
I'm going to declutter everything in my life!
First, I watched "Less Is Now" on Netflix which inspired me to start decluttering my everything. Since what I want to do in my studio is still up in the air, I decided to start there. This photo is what I started with - all my jewelry making supplies. Now, all gone - gave away.
Next I took EVERYTHING off my shelves (with the help of my budding artist next door neighbor, Millie).
then, I took everything outside and washed and vacuumed it all clean. Fortunately the weather Gods acted favorably toward us.
Everything got moved back onto the shelves. I went through each drawer and shelf then and pulled out anything I didn't want anymore that I hadn't already removed. I boxed these things up and made inquiries to my artist friends who might want something. Everything I removed has been given away.
My studio feels so much bigger!
Finally I decided to reopen my studio with some work on the Never Ending Painting, this time with tempera paint.
Two weeks ago I joined a 12-week online class called "Uncluttered" offered by Joshua Becker and Becoming Minimalist. For the next 10 weeks and 100 days, I am decluttering every space of my house. I know that with will carry over into other aspects of my well-being.
This is my "Why": I desire to own less so my house can be a clean, beautiful, uncluttered environment where I feel calm, soothed and appreciative of every space and item in it.
My 100 Day Project is to declutter and minimize every space in my house - and in my art making. I want to see what will happen with my art as my physical, mental and emotional spaces are cleared of unnecessary clutter and I hold that intention with making art.
My blog last month was all happy, celebrating our new pup, Jake.
Today I'm writing with great sadness, because Jake died on Sept 2. He had an anaphylaxis reaction, probably to bee venom, that led to liver failure. He tried valiantly for two and a half days in the ICU to recover, but finally let us know that he couldn't do it anymore. He used his last ounce of energy to pull himself from his tiny gurney onto my lap, then onto Chuck's lap and back onto mine, where he died peacefully all snuggled up. He was only 7 months old and our hearts are broken.
The moment I saw his photo from the pet rescue site, I knew he was my puppy and that his name was supposed to be "Jake". I mean, for god's sake - look at him!
He liked to snuggle next to Dash, and on my lap.
He liked the view from this spot in my studio.
He liked to play, eat, explore, and put things in his mouth. I made silly art from the little things I took out of his mouth. He made art from paper he found in my studio...while Dash cheered him on.
Dash loved him and now there is a sad hole in our household.
There's a lifetime of things we didn't get to do with him, and I will remember every minute I got to spend with him. He was a tiny sweet bundle of love. I'm making a tiny gallery space in my studio, and my art space will now be called "The Land Of Lost and Found Dogs" in honor of this precious little pup. I love you and miss you, Jake!
I painted this painting in 2019. At the time it appeared to be a painting of Dash and my son's dog, Coya. But now.....
Clearly that painting was a message of things to come... This is our new puppy, Jake. He is a six month old rescue from Texas. He arrived on June 4th and I am in puppy love with him.
Jake and Dash became good buddies after only two days of getting to know each other. Super dog-cuteness reigns! During times of pandemic and election anxiety, there is nothing more comforting to me than two really good dogs.
Time out of time.
I'm staying home in relative comfort, for which I am grateful. My heart goes out to all the people who are suffering during this time. I hold everyone in my heart and send out prayers to all beings for happiness, peace and freedom.
I'm reflecting on the what, how's and why's of making art now and in the days to come when our lives will be able to open up again. In my down moments, I can't see how that will ever happen. In my optimistic moments, I look forward to seeing what kinds of lessons and changes we, as a global community, will be making to create the next world. In my down moments I'm sad that we aren't learning a thing - we go back to "normal" and humanity rides a fast train to doom. In my optimistic moments, I can see the beginning of a beautiful new world.
I'm still making art because we have to keep the portal to the imaginal realm of creation open, so the problems that need solving can be found. I'm still making art because we need to see the creation of art as a agent of change. I'm still making art because we need comfort and joy. I'm still making art because this is what Love leads me to do, because Love, as art, can hold all of what's happening so we don't have to do it alone.
Right now, my art looks like colorful books made of tempera paint, fanciful stories of dangers and dreams. My art looks like small zines of life in Corona times as experienced through the perspective of Dash the Adorable Dog. My art looks like messy paper, words printed in pencil and oil pastels and sloppy stitchery.
I'm learning what Now is by living the same day over and over, noticing the very small things that make Now constantly changing.
I have my house, my husband and Dash. I have technology that allows me to stay connected with my family and friends. I have all of time, out of time - to watch Life, to make art, to see Love holding "what is" with great compassion and wisdom, and to just wait.
May you be happy. May you be at peace. May you be free.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to complete a 30-Day Yoga program. This morning while I was in downward dog, I noticed this painting behind me. It's called "Family", and it made me think of all the people I know.
Afterwards when I was flipping through Instagram I was struck by how many artists I know now. A lot of artists I just know through seeing their art on social media, but I've also met a lot of them in person. I've connected with so many artists who are not just good artists, but also just really good people. My heart is touched today by so many good people making art and putting it out into the world for others to see and enjoy.
So thank you, good artist people, for keeping on when the world is scary. I appreciate being a part of this community of artists, and I just wanted to say "Thank You" today for what you do and who you are. Thank you!