Almost seven weeks ago we re-homed our younger dog, Ram.
Now his name is "Rom", short for Romulus. Rommulus is the perfect name for him - it seems strong and poetic. He is now living a good life with a very calm and loving retired couple, who have a house with a BIG fenced backyard, next to a six acre county park. Best of all, they have no other pets. Now, as an only-dog, Rom can be king of the house!
It broke my heart to make the decision to find him a new home. We tried for a year to stop him from being reactive towards Dash. We worked with a vet-behaviorist who prescribed medication, worked with a trainer who specializes in behavior problems, and had fences throughout our house, yard and studio to keep the dogs separated. The situation was taking a toll on our household. None of us were truly happy, and both dogs deserve to be happy, so we just had to make a change. Rom is people-loving and well behaved, so we know he will be a great little companion to his new people. They've kept us updated on his adjustment, and he's been doing really well. I miss his sweet little face and personality, but I know he will be happier in his new home.
Now, I can move all the time and energy I was putting into the dogs back into my studio life, and Dash is back to being an only-dog. He is very happy again.
In 2021, I painted a series of new paintings that featured carefully made straight lines and stenciled words. They required tedious concentration and a steady hand. Now it's 2022, and I'm done with thoughtful precision.
Over the past years that I've been painting, people have often said, "You should make a book with your paintings." I've actually made a few books of collections of my paintings ( available on Blurb.com, hint hint..) Now, I am exploring writing and my messy side by making "MESSY BOOKS".
A Messy Book is literally just that - a handmade messy book, a really messy book. It's a
6" x 9", eight page book full of the immediate spontaneous process that making the book entailed - spills, smears, cross-outs, random thoughts and scribbles and hastily pasted-on collage... I'm writing about things that pop into my head as I'm in the process of making the books. A few of the subjects: Hiroshima, Depression, Fear, Chihuahuas... I'm planning to make them all through the year, and I want to share them.
If you have a U.S. mailing address, and you'd like to travel this journey with me, you can join the Messy Book Of The Month Club. Read more below...
1. What's a "Messy Book"? - See above...
2. How and when do I receive the books? - Once a month, starting sometime in March of 2022, a copy of one my original book will arrive in the mail - the real mail, not the electronic kind.
3. What if I don't sign up til later in the year? - You'll receive the back issues when your membership begins.
4. Do I get to choose which book to receive? - No, I'll choose what to send. Each member receives the same book as the other members.
5. What if I don't like the books? - What's not to like? Sorry, No refunds. Please recycle!
7. How much does it cost? - $105 for ten books.
8. Where do I sign up? - HERE!
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.