Challenge: Being present, make art daily, gardening a little and not stressing over life.

P1000063I love watching all the insects hanging out.  Wishing I could stay in this moment.

Life has been a roller coaster these last months, as life as a mom overwhelmed everything else.  When my boys were young I imagined myself at this age with long days making art, reading with no regard for the time, spontaneous happenings, and not worrying obsessively about them in their 30’s.

However, worry and despair dominated these last 6 months. As our Iraq Vet son moved home.   We had some good days, when I could focus on the art, good books, and enjoy the life I have created.  There was joy in planning a wedding for my older son, and the actual wedding weekend was wonderful.  I won’t soon forget our rehearsal dinner evening, nor the beautiful wedding in Nashville surrounded by family, some of our friends, and his childhood, high school and college friends.


It is hard tho’ to stay in those moments, isn’t it?   If only I could block out fear and worry over the daily struggles of the Iraq vet son, and return to memories of the wedding son in Nashville.   Focusing on that, being present there.

That is my challenge now:  how do I live with the reality of life never being okay for my Iraq vet son, and not worry or stress over his difficulties?  I wish sometimes I were one of those women who can block out family difficulties and make art, be happy with friends, but I am not.

In the week following that glorious wedding, our Iraq Vet son relapsed and became angry and depressed as the VA crisis dominated the news, and despair grew over his day to day life.  That was the backdrop at home as I worked to prepare for 2 naturalist hikes I co-lead that first weekend home.  The following Tuesday I taught my final Art/Botany Class,  I was exhausted and blacked out (or fell asleep) while driving home.

Car Accident-

The Police, Firemen, ER Doctors and the Ambulance EMT guys all said it should have been a fatality, and I was lucky to be alive.   It was a horrible accident, the impact was est. @ 45mph.  I hit a tree and guard rail head on, it folded then turned into a vertical spear eating the engine of my poor car.

After all the doctors, tests and the followup to a near fatal car crash, I am left wondering: How do I change my  head and heart?  How do I destress when my son is in crisis?  And how can I make art and live with a different mental/emotional approach to work deadlines as personal crisis develop at home?

These last few weeks, I am working in the garden, I am drawing plants, I am teaching, and I am slowing down.  My son has moved out, he lives with a friend now.  I am not sure how I will face the next  catastrophe he encounters, but I will try to let it be his problem and hope that I have given him enough guidance and support over all these years to be able to make good decisions.

Living in the moment right now on a beautiful June day, with my garden in full bloom.  Now to the studio…..

Monarda & Dill

Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snow falling on Morningstar Studio

Snowfall, hibernation, reading, and loving winter.
I love the way this weather envelops me. Warm and bundled up with good books, sketch pads and hot tea, it is that time of the year when I am not juggling, garden chores, house chores, and studio time.
I am looking out my old, wavy glass windows, at the sun shining on a snowy landscape. Thinking of books I want to read and realizing this is my time to create, explore and make art!

Snow and creating a day with art and taking care of my family.

Sitting at the kitchen table thinking about the snow, my family and the tugs and pulls of making art, when other things are going on in my life. 
I wish I could think about the art I sold in the studio, last year. I wish I could stay with the wonderful conversations that I had with studio customers about the art. And focus on working with my hands outside of the kitchen, laundry room, and overall domestic scene. 

What I know to be true for me is, when it snows and when family members return home, it is amazing how fast I revert to an earlier time in my life, when cooking and creating a nurturing environment for my kids and husband, was the main preoccupation.

I feel as if I am in art hibernation, as I make the veggie soups, hot tea, pancakes and other comfort foods for my son and husband.

An adult son has returned home, emotionally bruised, He is an Iraq war vet.  So life for him is often difficult and exhausting.  We try to hlep him problem solve, we loan him our car, we pack him food and buy him clothes and other essentials.  How I wish these creature comforts could solve his problems.    Unfortunately, they only help around the edges.

He is a sweetie but he is tormented by anxiety and nightmares about the war.  He doesn’t get much of a break from these worries.  so it is hard to focus on going out to the studio, when all I want to do is make his life easier and help him find peace and joy.

The art will come, the drawings will start, and I will discipline myself to do my work.  Art can be a refuge at times like this, I hope it will help me through, as it has so many times in the past. 


Here he is bringing in more firewood, I need to take a step back in to the art.  Along with making soups and breads.

West Harris Walks- Sugarloaf Mountain

West Harris Walks- Sugarloaf Mountain

I walk West Harris Road most days throughout the year. It is a charming rustic road right off of the back of our field, that leads to Sugarloaf Mountain. So many days my mind is cluttered with chores, to do lists and so on, then all of a sudden a bird will flit through the tall grasses and I am drawn in, somedays it is the light hitting the wheat or soy growing in the distance. This painting attempts to capture some of that experience that.

Holiday Open Studio- Art, Snow, Lavender

WestHarris WalksMorningstar Studio is open today for the Holiday Countryside Artisan Studio tour, from 10 to 5 pm, and by appointment throughout the Holidays.
A very busy time in the studio and garden getting everything cleaned up and ready for visitors. Then the snow arrived, and now my driveway and parking area looks like a manger with hay laid down to help visitors park and walk to my log cabin studio.
Always a multi-tasking experience preparing for studio tour, this time I had the thrill of having the Washington Post feature my art in the Going Out Guide, and the frustration of shoveling Ice and Snow in my gravel parking area, and the path to the studio.
Life as an artist and small businesswoman is good, but I am never caught up with all the facets of open studio.
This year I made lavender linen sachets and stamped the front with a butterfly and Je’taime. They are so fragrant and will be a wonderful stress reliever during this busy season.

Cozumel Shell Diptych

Cozumel Shell Diptych

Back from my first time snorkeling around the beaches in Cozumel, Mexico. Everything was vibrant looking through the snorkel mask. Shells are subtle organic shapes with detail and colors that draw me in. This little watercolor – collage was fun to do and challenging at the same time. I love it when art isn’t a struggle, and my mind is in the art.

Especially enjoyed collaging the japanese papers and a fragment of the customs form we received upon entering the country.

As you know if you have read my posts too often the art projects I set out to do, are a mountain of work and the fun is gone long before the piece is done. My little shell diptych broke through that pattern. A good day in the studio.