Mania, Melancholy, and Making Stuff.

by admin

Fear turned out for a Saturday Afternoon.

Most of my life, if my selective memory works, I think I have been in a state of productive mania. I don’t remember the fits of rage, retaliation, or Indecision, for I HAD Purpose. I had a goal.

And, I do think this is most of the time, or at least MORE of the time. Or did, until I hit a rough patch, let’s just call it my 50s, soon thankfully to be at an end. In March, In Like a Lion, and let’s hope to reach 60 as the lamb of God I hope to be.

But lately, more chronically, I have had a problem feeling purpose. I’ve been working on edits for a second book, a Children’s Book that I’ve discovered is not really a children’s book at all. And, while I will hold onto Prairie Pug as a memoire, I do want to re-think if it even needs to be a book or might be better done in a blog. Mostly the writing is therapeutic for me. Sometimes, it’s much harder Work. Books, in print, or in digital, are not cheap to produce or market. They definitely aren’t a breadwinner.  So, I’l keep the ego and belt cinched, save that decision for another day.

I think I’m finally feeling and acknowledging the word “Depression.” Anxiety, though not of the sort I had when I resorted to taking xanax. This was while working at a large architectural firm in Wichita. It wasn’t the job, though I knew MY path wasn’t to even work long enough to be able to sit for the architectural exams, much less to pass them. My trail was to get Lacy through high school at Wichita Collegiate. And, we did do this, but taking xanax wasn’t worth it. After two years and about 4 months on xanax, I quit, and headed to Drugs (Off) Camp in Halstead. She was able to live with a dear family friend, Sally, for her senior year. I had been trying to live TWO lives, and not doing a good job at either. Mostly, I couldn’t go home to cook in the summers and fall, my main ranch responsibility after some “facilities management” with historic and domestic buildings. I’d ‘left my post’, though not in a deliberate way as I perhaps did later.

I still do not know the answer to that one. No big, life is hard sometimes! Was before that big (or)Deal got undone, too. No matter…

On the good side of Depression…I’ve

  • had a lot of sleep,
  • seem to have laid my scale on a bath mat and thought I’d lost 10 lbs but seem to have gained 10 instead,
  • and I have tried not to “consume”. That’s one way I falsely think I can “snap out of it!” as Cher would say.
  • And, I was with some women at a Meetup (GET OUT OF THE HOUSE REGARDLESS!) at Cafe de l’Art who made stuff.
  • And, more importantly, they shared about it, the details to the questions I love to ask, tediosity!

So, yesterday, I pulled out my beads, and followed my vow that I will NEVER buy one more art supply, at least in the bead department [except as needed to finish a piece, a fastener, etc.].

First, all I did was pull out the wire and “posts” and tools. Immediately and as was necessary, I felt compelled and stressed into seeing if I could remember how to “wire wrap” and if I still had the half-round pliers. I could and I did and it was “Good Enough”. FYI, a $28 brush-up is available at BEADholiday on Fort Lowell weekly, no problem. By then, I had started and I couldn’t wait. Messy ‘wire wrap’ had served most of my projects and so it would work “today.”

Stuff: so…nice and SHINY!

SOME TEDIOUS WORDS ABOUT TECHNIQUE

Then, I picked out my favorite silver charms and pieces, and decided that it didn’t matter if the posts were sterling silver (which does tarnish) or the inexpensive shiny ones I had. This post, technically I believe maybe called a “headpin,” is like a big straightpin with a head. You just put the bead on it, and make sure it’s big enough that it won’t slip off the other end. Then the other pieces can sit on top and you make the jump ring or loop at the top to string with the wire wrap. Then, you can either string the wire loop or add an open jump ring to this. It’s all super easy, one hour of a wire wrap class and you’re in business with help from their business. Crafts are good for the economy and MOI, on the other hand, then spend far less than in other forms of shopping.

So, doing something prevents the ‘living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work’ that I can find even in the midst of trying to edit a book. We read about this in church today (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13). I’ll let you look it up if you care to, just because the interpretations are all unique, just see it as a positive impetus for me. I had decided I would make gifts for Christmas for new family members. I had a purpose for the act of making something. But it was the making it that made it therapeutic, the STARTING came before the purpose, for I had remembered the medicine. It was so meditative that for the first 1+ hour, I just organized, designed, and basically made a plan. It’s like when Jesus brought the hungry man to the older lady who was despondent. She got up, she made food and drink and she had purpose. My Jesus, I guess, being those ladies who shared about their projects.

Here are some of the thoughts and things about the necklace I’ll share that also relate:

  • RECYCLE. in using old and broken jewelry, it takes the artful act of former shopping to a new plane. Not “better” just a different place.
  • enamel bunny necklace and stamped cats bracelet

     

    • That’s what the little bunny is, and the cats. These were small, one enameled, one stamped, horizontally linked charm pieces that my mother had seen in antiques and thrifts stores that reminded her of the tiny jewelry I gravitated towards. They had broken, but I keep all of my broken jewelry, often because it’s hard to find places that will repair costume jewelry. Recycle.
      • Here’s one I’ll share…https://mcmullenjewelry.com. It’s at Oliver and Douglas in Wichita, across from Aspen Boutique.
      • Ayala Bar Chandelier Necklace, Solo

 

In the center, I used one of two “chandelier” earrings I’d kept after losing it’s mate. These are by the jewelry designer, Ayala Bar (Mosaic at Denver International supplied the name I couldn’t remember but the gift given to me was from Aspen Boutique, Wichita, don’t believe they still carry her work).

    • fetishes from something…either someone’s old fetish necklace (I didn’t have one) or maybe a Nancy Nichols Lopez creation that had broken…?

      Fetish from Nancy Nichols Lopez creation, also using recycled jewelry necklace, hers late 1970s.

  • The rest…some of those small crystals, turquoise, other mineral and plastic stuff I had!
  • last ingredient….meditative bliss.

 

  1. That’s the recipe for Depression. Acknowledge It.
  2. It may start with a class, something I MUCH prefer over utube though, not to discredit online learning. I need people…So…Get out of the House.
  3. Get around others who are doing something
  4. Create something, maybe for a reason, maybe just for fun if it sounds fun.
  5. The time will pass…the mood, too, shall pass.

 

The Stunt Tail.

by admin

The Stunt Tail.

P:  “Rose!  [her head was turned, looking over her right front leg with quite a critical look on her face.] Careful with the neck! What is the problem?”

Rose:  “I’m going to have a stunt tail.”

P:  “What is that, Rose?”

Rose:  “….a stunt tail. We’ll have auditions, to be sure there is no unraveling.”

P:  “What’s wrong with your tail? You have a perfectly nice curl.”

Rose:  “No, we need Perfection. I don’t think my tail’s is quite as taut as it used to be. It just won’t do.  And, I’ll add that at the rate you are moving on my movie career, I’ll be in the group kennel and that’s NOT the role I want to play.”

P:  “What’s that?”

Rose:  “You know. Elder year co-habitation. Personally I think it might be happening earlier when we are still young enough to have some fun, so let’s get on those Behavior Lessons at PetSmart. You need some training with me.” 

P:  “Yes, I know.”

Rose: “I think I could do very well with the proper Mistress, hmmph-hmmm.”

P:  “Back to your role…just what is it that you will be in this movie?”

Rose:  “Well, I’ve researched many roles that involve one of the things I do best, that is recline.”

P:  “And what would those be, Rose?”

Rose:  “An artist’s muse is one…”

P:  “Oh, I agree, you’d be great. In fact you’ve already done this for me.”  {muttering…’they might want to drop the snoring’}

Rose:  “I HEARD that and it’s hurtful. Take it back….Oh, well….you’re right… SOMETIMES, I suppose.”

P:  “What about a patient in a psychologist’s office? Like, on their couch.”

Rose:  “Me!!?? I think you’re projecting but that’s a very good idea. I think I’d have to pay for that job though”

P:  “So what else?”

Rose:  “A Security Dog.”

P:  “Really??!” “What make you say this? They don’t lie down or snooze on the job!”

Rose:  “Well, I watch everything. I smell everything.  I notice any new thing.”

P:  “Rosie, you know, I think you are spot on. But back to the stunt tail…”

Rose:  “Yes, it might be tough if I had to wear a uniform.  But, a stunt tail really has skill potential. They may find some use for it. Like…hmmmm…maybe a whistle could hang from it or a billy club.”

P:  “Rose, I don’t think security people use those (or maybe anyone) anymore.”

Rose:  “I just wanted to say it…you know, like I’d be ‘Security Billy Pug.'”

P: “Okay, but back to your tail…”

Rose: “Well we will have to have the auditions in really hot weather, that’s a good test. And somewhere really hot, like Tucson. They can’t be too young, I don’t think this movie series really begins until we move to the city.”

P:  “Series, Rose?”  “Are you ‘serious’?”

Rose:  Yes, and Siri is going to help out….

P:  “Siri?”

Rose:  “I  was just seeing if you were paying attention. Okay, I’ve got to go…”

P:  “Where are you going?”

Rose: “Well, only my hairstylist Robert Markley knows for sure, but I am toying with the idea of a little enhancement and that’s all I will say.  He may have some ideas on tail curl also.”

P:  “Like what?”

Rose:  “Oh, some  product . Of course, Aveda animal safe. Gotta go! Ta Ta Tug.”

Rose is a Rose…Yet unformed.

by admin

Adorned and Unformed, that is The Rose.
When No One’s Around,
She strikes a Pose.

Shavasana.

Shavasana.

It’s Time to Work
but was taught to Play…

Toil’d at night
turmoil’d by day…

Her hi plains and low plains,
all over the Spectrum…
Without a filter,
Pleaseteeth‘ not the r.Ct.m!”

The Delight-ful Garden of Earth...Thank you, Mr. Bosch and the Museo del Prado by way of Helen Gardner's Art Through the Ages, 7th Edition.

The Delight-ful Garden of Earth…Thank you, Mr. Bosch and the Museo del Prado by way of Helen Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, 7th Edition.

Rose & Orange Felt Flower.

Rose & Orange Felt Flower.

But maybe can Learn
to ‘Rein it In...

Stop the churn
pick up the Pen.

Sew herself up
with velvet and flax

A Fine yoga pillow
Shavasana Max.

Find Some sort of Mid-dle
Perhaps in the ‘taile’

For circles and curls
perhaps weren’t a Snail…

But A Serpent’s Dance…

ward

up

ing

r-al

…spi

…………………………………………….

…….just waiting to Prance!

So, tame the attack
and temper the fear…

Just Begin,
a Pro-cess
gets clear.

Soooo…

Roses and Poses
with her You can play

For Rose is unformed
But yet…
can-Not stay…

This way. 

not even near….

The End.

Goal: Paint Happy. Medium: oils. Destination: Tucson.

by admin

I was seeking my next art instructor on upcoming journeys southwest and was reviewing the type of medium that I wanted to explore. And, in doing so I realized that my mother, Ginny Graves, really had a pretty good idea about how she had worked with people, specifically, children people in exploring first their creativity in drawing as a mode of expression. That is, instead of describing things in words, she would instruct to draw a picture. And, then, “tell me about your picture.”

So, the early tools were crayons, pencils, markers, and used line as expression.

Next came paint. 

As with everyone, I started both with pre-school art classes at the Nelson and in grade school with those powdered tempera artista paints. I can still smell that smell, because I always thought it smelled a little bit like, for want of a better word, barf. Well, I think that’s what it was, but maybe it was just that shaved sawdust like stuff they sprinkled over it when a person got sick all over their food tray in the lunchroom (me. I’ll never forget it and how everyone  recoiled in horror, tripping over the lunchroom bench to get away with disdainful “eeeyyeeewwwwhoooaaahhhyuuuuuckkkk!”). By the time I helped my mom with her classes at Corinth library, they were pre-mixed in little plastic squeeze bottles so the mixing we had to do at Cedar Roe Branch of the Johnson County librairies was a thing of the past.

This was my finest work from that painting period. It is a picture of me at the Prairie Village Art Fair where I won first prize.

First Prize, Prairie Village Art Fair. Topsy’s by Paula Adams.

 

And, I pretty much stuck with this style and used it in books for French classes I taught in my mid-20s, shower invitatations, Christmas cards and maps. It’s basically just a bit of embellishment on the stick figure, and it’s worked pretty well for me on many occasions. As long as I can draw a circle and lines, I pretty well had the figurative part covered as far as I was concerned and moved on into the details which are what I really liked. All the little patterns, squiggles, repeats, and organization of whatever the topic might be. Achieving order in organizing detail, that’s what it was all about. In thinking of all of these things, I may have to do a blog post showcasing this fine body of line d’oeuvres. 

I really don’t remember any other painting or drawing classes that I took in public school education. I’m sure I had some in grade school, but I mostly have remnants of that with clay objects. All of my drawing really came from home and from “work” when I was called upon to be the guinea pig for an upcoming workshop she was teaching, article she was writing, or book for which she needed an illustration. I loved this job, and if I could have someone put me to work like this right now, giving me some framework, supplies, task and a purpose I would feel I’d died and gone to heaven. It’s my job now, and I’m only just now realizing how wonderful it was to be gainfully employed with a sense of purpose while growing up.

I had my second formal painting class after I had Lace. The first was when I had worked with oils in a sort of “academic” class that my mother had found for me with a private teacher on Johnson Drive when I was in high school.  She had a real bunny, and I modeled a Durer like rabbit, painted a cezanne-like-but-rounder Granny Apple Still life in oils, and learned some basics on making things look “real”, that is “realistic” by using line, shadow, and light sources. We worked dark to light, as I did in later classes, with the white being the “high” spots from which light reflected and applied last to bounce off the rounded apple forms.

Because I had studied art history, this kind of learning of structure behind form, technique, and use of light and shadow was really important to me to be exposed to; to me, it was “old school”. My mother had worked on the “creativity” part in providing the best atmosphere for “play” throughout my grade school and Jr. high years. She put me and others around artists doing art through visiting their workshops. I am very glad that she did this part first, because the technique and skill of the craft is a lot of work and can be both intimidating and limiting. Regardless of any opinion of whether  or not it’s mandatory to get the “Beaux Arts” training, it was something that I needed for my own self-confidence. The basic KU drawing classes ABS 101 and 102 built upon this ability to use line, with of course the favorite monday class “Nudes of All Shapes and Sizes and Ages of KU Drama Majors Needing Extra Income.”

When I first  learned to paint in oils, I think I only did about ten paintings. I’m fond of them. The choice of using oils, for me, was often a time factor in projects that were sandwiched in-between degrees and jobs and driving of kids both in daily country commutes and intra-state then for our cross-country secondary education for the Adams. That is, finding blocks of time, studio setup and takedown, portability and the drying time necessary with oils later became a challenge. So, as teaching, architecture school, work, cowboy cooking and family life changed, so did the medium to acrylics when I finally had a minute to return to paint one spring and crank out the  “Dead Dog’s Portrait Gallery” Series.

These are the three “types” of oil paintings I did in class with Steve Heckmann at Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas.

  • “landscape” of sorts that was a painting of Monet’s gardens at Giverny. I visited their with my Grandmother in summer 1980.
  • a still life of artichokes from a picture in a French market that same summer.
  • the last was the first of a series of pug portraits, one for my parents, my sister, and finally one of my own two dogs.

The last oil I did was that of Lace with our black pug Mei Rose on a kilim stool which I showed in a blog post this year before Christmas entitled “what is real?” So, I had classified myself as the bourgeois painter of middle class subject matter in theme.

So, back to my pursuit of a mentor-painter-teacher. After learning I could not paint with Stephen Kilborn (watercolors) in Taos, I found a woman in Tucson who I knew would fit the bill when I saw her work. I sent her my history, my portfolio, my mini life story and waited for a response.

And, it was exactly the conversation I dreamed of having when she called. My pictures had said a thousand words, my story gave all the depth of family history in arts and angst. She embraced me and invited me to come and join her regular classes when I was in town. I am very grateful and so pleased she took me in, to get back into the classic oil medium and put brush in my hand. She applauded the academic efforts while acknowledging both my timidity and need for a nudge from the nest to express.

Though this painting was done in acrylic, which forces a different speed with quick drying times, it best expresses what I think will be my challenge and task in the upcoming month at this class. That is, to be free and paint happy.

Trey portrait with Trey in shadow looking on. by Paula Graves Adams.

It doesn’t mean it has to be perfect  or done. That is the beauty of oil which can be re-worked.

And I would now be able to return to my mother’s original encouragement to express.

I’d earned the right to clothe my canvas in the elegant fabric of oils, but this time with folly.

And I like that, it’s like life.
The layers on the canvas tell a story of underlying structure;
a plan that grows and changes over time.
Each layer adds depth, unfolding an evolving idea while gaining the patina of age.

 

What is real?

by admin

I’m so glad my mother put sunblock on this painting of me.

This post is kind of about personplace, thingpet, and art.

So is this painting.

Lacy Amelia Adams and Rosie on kilim footstool.

Lately, I am really trying to simplify and understand in (my) life, what really matters with all this “stuff”, changing context, people that converge & separate, and how the constant of art all fits into the picture. 

So here goes…

First, a little bit about the “THING” in this image, which is the footstool covered with a kilim rug. It is one of the 9 pieces of furniture that I have purchased in my adulthood, not counting flea market finds. My house is mostly made up of furniture of my mother’s and Grandmother’s. There was little that I could, needed, or wanted to buy in southwest Kansas in general. Not to add, nor to buy almost anyplace that was better constructed or of more interesting design than anything I’d have by way of these two women of impeccable taste.

Plus, of course, I’m sentimental, and taking these objects from other “PLACES” in Kansas where my mother, Grandmother, and before that her mother had lived are one of the big things that made the ranch “PLACE” home before I knew it intimately.

I bought this kilim stool in the “PLACE” which was Santa Fe in my 20s on a trip with Gina and my mom. It was from a man, Stephen Miller, who also helped me to purchase a dhurrie to match a (Rainbow Decorator) Smith & Co. loveseat I’d spotted the summer before I was married. This also had received “stamp of approval” from Bobbi Smith who worked for Jack Rees Interiors, a prominent KC decorator with ‘a clientele who collected.’ I’d interned with her at Jack Rees, the summer of 1980. She was a close friend of my Grandmother Millie. 

Coincidentally, she had also picked out some upholstery for John Adams Grandmother Jessie. So, she also knew the rancher’s wife budget & priorities :), at least in the department of home interiors. Do not take this as disparaging. It’s often far more expensive to upholster quality items that will never be made “like they used to” than it is to buy new. I live by the same in much of my philosophy on domestic interiors. Do less, do it well, less often. It’s kind of an environmental thing akin to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It also might be called being a bit “Scotch” at times, while “French” and “German” at others.

Stephen Miller’s Oriental Rugs was located catty corner from Pasqual’s and across from Doodlets, depending upon what you consume when you’re in SF. I discovered in a recent conversation with a salesperson in a rug store on Canyon Road, that this store’s (Santa Kilim) owner had been associated with Stephen, moved to Guadalupe (where I bought a kilim kabul rug chair), and is now on Canyon Road. The owner even remember acquiring the rugs and his series of upholstered chairs using them.

I had this kilim stool in my living room at both the East and West Ranch Headquarters on the Cimarron River, my two “home” ‘s  for the last 28 years. It is now in my home in Kansas City in Hyde Park, looks “smash” as Bobbi Smith would say. 

But, back to the idea of what I was thinking about when I came across this picture I’d taken of Lacy touching her face within the painting… “what is real?” That is, in a material world, what is it that connects us to place, person, things, even pets? And in seeing this, it inspired the post because it somehow was also connected to my personal ventures in “art” to find meaning, often un-consciously and under wrap.

I’m not going to talk about the person(s) because that’s person(all). We all have these persons and I’d imagine we all have similar feelings when we feel gratitude for having shared time and place with them.

Same goes for pets, it seems there are many out there these days who are having no issues in experiencing their feelings about their dogs 🙂 or expressing them. But, I will put in this picture of Rosie. It is a fake. That is, her Black Pug Ancestress pictured in the oil is the late Mei Rose, whose death preceded this photo by about 18 years when a speeding UPS truck brought about her early demise*. Anyway, Rosie cooperated in this photo setup. And I guess this means this second photo of the post is the realization of a new series of ‘family portrait photo genre’ entitled “what is real?”

note re UPS: [In his defense, I’m sure they lose quite a bit of money on their rural customers. He later asked me, “what happened to that little black pug of yours?” but I said nothing]

“Portrait of Rosie Adams questioning ‘what is real’ in sniffing ‘Lacy Adams pictured with black pug’ Portrait.”

So, here brings in art. I had this portrait of Lacy sitting by my (father’s former) drafting table which has now moved from its location in the bay window at the XIT Ranch to the bay window of The Illinois, 1 North. It is an oil that I had done, after I’d mastered dogs and artichokes.

As an art history major and also having grown up in the Education Wing at the Nelson, I had always been fascinated with the Early American and English Portraiture. The subject matter I’m referencing is that of children or a child, often dressed as a small adult, placed and painted in the context of “the house on the hill” or within a domestic interior. I also admired the later painter, John Singer Sargent, and his ability to incorporate person in place. But, BTW, Sargent was one whose work totally intimidated and blocked from painting.

So, the “primitive itinerant painter” version of the painting type pictured below was a little more approachable relative to my skillset. You’ll recognize the genre from Balis’s painting below that hangs at the Nelson of George and Emma Eastman at the ol’ homeplace. I realize this does not exactly represent the simple folk nor the humblest paintings which I was emulating, but I wanted you to get the “type” at the high end. That is, I think these are the Kodak kids in their “best available painter for the Kodak $$” moment. But you can see what I mean about the naïf nature of the painting with their big doll heads and stick-like bodies. It was do’able.

George and Emma Eastman by Calvin Balis. 1850

It’s really a mixed bag of feelings I have when I look at these paintings, because I often think, “Poor little Mr. Master with this noose of a plantation already around his starched collar… and the little mistress, well adorned with her bracelet, lacy pants, and festooned sunhat.”  Isn’t that jaded, with both sentiments sweet and savory? But, I also see that these children are growing up in this beautiful place, and they are often with a pet or something in their hands that you know gave them pleasure. And, the pride and love that the parents felt in having this executed, commemorating their children’s presence in a special place of meaning at a given age.

In all honesty, when I did this painting of Lacy, I don’t think I thought much about the fact that it is the parents that dress up their toy, arrange it in the portrait setup, and then document it for their own memory and point in time. As so many parents did before me and as we will forever do with the children we raise, I just did it.

I was pretty insecure about my ability to master features, though I actually think I did a pretty good job with Lacy’s face. I had sketched her before. So, I decided that since I lived in the country that I was the Itinerant Painter. I pretty much have to pretend when I launch into any creative endeavor.

Itinerant painter was the term for the artist-by-trade who traveled around, outside of the city, to landowners and others in the country who would perhaps not otherwise have traveled to the city to have their children painted. This was, of course, before the common existence of cameras to capture family “snapshots” at given key points along the timeline of their lives.

So, I don’t know how I exactly composed the room interior in the painting, except that the Guy Chaddock loveseat mentioned above was upholstered in a this cerulean blue color. I am sure that the checkerboard came from…

  • floorgrounds on Mary Engelbreit cards,
  • a photograph of a stained wood checkboard floor I kept in my files that I’d have loved to achieve on the old ranch wood floors,
  • numerous other Flemish interiors such as Vermeer’s self-portrait where he is painting in his studio.
  • PS  Note above what I said about imagination? See how I am just now noticing that I had subconsciously made reference to both Sargent (kilim stool and his rug in Daughters of Edward D. Boit) and Vermeer? Ego check.

Plus, the checkerboard went great with Lace’s outfit in the painting. Lacy’s portrait clothing ensemble, BTW, was given to her by her Grandmother GG. It says, “Spot the Dog” on her shirt. So, I have to put in that picture.

[I guess I forgot about “la mode” when I was pondering above on “person“, “place“, “thing“, “a pet” and “art”. How could I??]

GG, Jade Snow Wong (pug), Lacy Adams pictured by studio, 5328 W. 67th Street, Prairie Village, Kansas.

But, to answer my ponderings above…

For me, art can encapsulate persons, places, things (and pets!). It somehow helps me to feel all of it that perhaps I rushed past at the time in all of the excitement.

experience.

record.

remember.

feel.

process.

create.

breathe.

experience again…

It captures all the emotions that so easily just escape into energy, often misplaced, and puts it in one spot that gives some release to the maker.

…maybe to others, but I don’t feel that it really ever starts with that.

Giving the right answer.

by admin

If you need any help after August 18, please call me :). I don't do windows.

 

So, now that I’ve moved to town, and have added more people ingredient to my current life’s recipe, I’ve decided that there are really, maybe only a few answers to many personal questions in life. So, this is the multi-purpose right answer that works for everything from “what do you want to do?” to financials to questions of a personal matter or about relationships.

Me, me, call on me!

Actually, this is from my therapist in Wichita, Dr. Stephen Sowards.

(Dr. Sowards gives a big intake and sighs first. The eyes avert slightly to reflect thought processing in a particular hemisphere or the other, alerting listener of what could possibly ensue if they continue on with the particular line of questioning.

Then one responds, “It’s sooooooo complicated.”

Pretty much peoples’ eyes glaze over. You can stop putting forth any effort from that point on.

But, I do have a nice party favor. I hand them my card.

 

 

 

Ode de Savage and the Good ol’ boys at Eddy’s.

by admin

Prince Michael Savage, Paula Graves Adams, Eddy de la Hunt. First Meeting sum '11.

I saw Michael Savage, The Artist, the other day at Eddy’s.

We have different coffee schedules with our respective yoga-paint patterns.

Anyway, we only had a minute for an update.

We don’t really need to get into the context.

And, I don’t want to put word’s in someone else’s mouth, but I think it went something like this.

To paraphrase the Sauvage:

“Well, in the [good] old’n days, the wife [in the country] just died!”

 

Baaa…when he speaks to me, He calls me Paula.

by admin

I am attaching a link for a wonderful sermon that I missed hearing last week on Mother’s Day at Second Pres.  It is very powerful and I enjoyed hearing this one in particular at home, as I am prone to crying in church. Click on Reverend Paul Rock: The Voice, the top sermon, delivered on May 13th.

Listen to him, but he is talking about how God speaks to us and how to find that voice.

The value of feeling really low and 12 steps to go up.

I first had to feel pretty low about other things and to realize that I had to give into the fact that I couldn’t run the show of my life. I will say a little because I believe the 12 step process that one particular anonymous group identified in 1939 as instrumental for so many should be at least peripherally mentioned. It worked for many people to give up alcohol and more importantly to take responsibility for whatever else about oneself that wasn’t working in life. And addictions can be many things in people besides chemicals. I know because I am an addictive person and you can see it in part when I write. It’s often those things that worked so well for so long to keep us going, working, doing, running, thinking but for some reason yet to be uncovered it just wasn’t working anymore.

Starting over Each Day.

And, it has been said in meetings that it is a bit of a bait and switch. This is because so many do have a problem with organized religion and a higher power, religion is separate and apart from this process. But at the end of the day, it finally does come around to finding a God within oneself. And, because it focuses on just each day, it is really what brought me back to understanding why people chose Christianity as a religion. That idea that each day, sins are forgiven, and to be good, feel good. To move on doing good things it is important to forgive oneself to be rid of resentments that can keep us stuck, lazy and in the past in a negative way. Focusing too much on not forgiving oneself diverts from taking responsibility for past actions with amends as well as doing important work in life in the future.

So, after all of that and really several months of just going through the motions, I came to Believe. After practicing and saying and repeating, something finally happened. It was not like this, though this picture kept going through my head.

Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa

 

It did involve sunlight, though. I think this is in part because the sun is so warming and relaxing. It also so changes the way that everything looks at different times of the day. Everything is grayed and light blued in the morning, golden in the afternoon, and reveals every color possible throughout the day, all in the same still-life setup.

I knew the hard work had paid off when I felt I really now saw

Great Beauty. Masterpieces.

Not all of the time, just when I am conscious.

But in these moments, all of a sudden the

yellow was buttery,

the green was a meadow,

the blue was indigo and

my reds were tame and quiet.

I have studied art and been around beautiful paintings, sculpture, buildings all of my life. I’ve visited complex cities that were both planned and evolved with people, time and place. Some were places that others may not have thought of as beautiful like junkyards, but I’ve always been open to thinking there was something to see and learn in any place, any person. I never associated this with God.

Still my most beautiful picture, place, moment captured. Trash sack and School Bus. Colorado Line, summer 2011.

Even when I made things, my meditation, I never really thought of this as God.

And later when I so relied on my mind to remember, there and in my dreams, I have always seen vivid color and detail. It does not always matter if something is in front of me, I can still see it, taste it, smell and touch it in my head.

When I lived in southwest Kansas,

I lived in the past when I studied stone buildings and read Webb’s the Great Plains.

I was in the future when I studied Rem Koolhaus and read Metropolis.

I was with my friends when I was lonely,

and I was in Paris when wanted to explore, see, draw and be alone to experience.

And I was in the present,

when I was cooking, driving, raising a family, doing my work,

but being connected to all of that and feeling important about what I chose to do.

Paul Rock also speaks to that in his sermon. That is, pretending. Some people call it daydreaming, but when it shows up in what we do on earth it is more than that. This is the idea hat there are crowds cheering, people watching, and that what we do matters, civic responsibility and hard work. And for all that organized religion gets knocked around, that the belief in good through religion is something that at one time and still does unite Americans in values and in large part helped us to build a great country. If one doesn’t like the word religion, just call if faith, faith in building something that is good or in large part tries to be.

With faith, suddenly Life is electrified through everything on earth and it is all connected.

 

The Work of it, the Practice, to hear Voice.

Within Paul Rock’s sermon he also talks about Voice, real voice and hearing. I actually have practiced this, not often enough, when I really work at setting aside a time and place to have a conversation. The pauses, the questions.

I’m not so great at conversation with others in general. I talk way way too much about self, answer questions with too much detail, explain, random and tangential and wonder why I’m always the one talking and having to offer, often way more than I really want or need to say. It comes off as unhealthy narcissism when I am often just engaging in a nervous habit that in part was necessary to share about my unorthodox life but no longer has value.

I am working at the Art of Listen, being still. (though professionally here this translates to just baby steps with partial “edit”).

And of staying in the moment.

Maybe actually trying non-verbal connecting, even with other women and we are so verbal!

I have to say, the last place I found was just happening to sit upon a little padded bench in my foyer at The Illinois in one of these conversations I knew had to happen at that moment. When I looked down, terrazzo and border tile and when I looked up,  there was a beautiful plaster ceiling of white.

My little Borromini Chapel at The Illinois. How on earth did God help us do decorative plaster?

So, at the end of the day, it is work and practice and I could be doing a whole lot more, though out each day. But, I am getting pretty good at it. In fact, the birds awakened me this morning earlier than usual to get this sermon of Paul’s out there before church this morning.

So, both the seeing and the hearing are working pretty well.

 Off to shower. I think instead of running this morning,

I will have to let God treat me to a some tasting before church with a chocolate mocha decaf.

And I’ll get to church early,

to take time to smell the lilacs by the fence

of the house along Oak where I park.

Have a happy Sunday.