For years I’ve taught students with little round watercolor palettes. They run smooth pale colors in wet streaks across highly absorbent paper. I’ve told them that the colors will darken just slightly as the water evaporates when drying, but to leave white spaces if they wish for brightness.
As I venture into watercolors for myself, I have chosen to experiment with Windsor and Newton’s Cotman line. I need permanence as well as bright and vivid colors, so I’ve chosen a tube paint for my first project. I also need some bolstering of the spirit as I’ve had one girlfriend after another show up with hearts heavy this week. They are dealing with loaded plates, stuff like child and parent cancer, heart attacks, and a “no-cure on this side of the rainbow” response for ALS.
I gathered flower photos from my time last year at Butchart Gardens, more that I took in my girlfriend Sara’s garden, and some from my time in the Netherlands at my mother-in-laws. These, along with C.S. Lewis’s quote “Courage, dear heart” is what I need now, in this wet and dark pacific northwest spring.
So here’s to courage, bright, sparkly pigments running from my brush, and memories of happy garden days behind and to come.
On August 14, 2010, I lost my dream home. We’d slowly flipped houses from the time we’d married. We would buy a house, fix it up, get a job offer and move. But instead of selling our house, we would rent it out and get another one that wasn’t keeping up with the Jones’s. One that was a little smaller, a little rougher, a little cheaper, but always a little cute. Except the one with the gigantic above ground pool, rotting deck, mosquitos, and a freezer full of rotting meat. That one was not cute, it was just a lot of sweat.
That August, 2010, I’d stood on the lovely concrete deck of the home we’d finally fallen in love with. I watched as a cement truck rotated grey sludge into the decommissioned septic tank under my feet. That was the be the last push toward solving the 5 year puzzle that our dream house had been. I didn’t yet know, but we would give up, our health screaming and whimpering for attention. Our funds exhausted and our creativity stolen, we would escape.
7 long years later, we’re now tucked into a little cottage with too much stuff. This August we’ve finally installed a new deck at this new place. We set up a pool for the first time this year and then promptly split the liner. So, once again I’m dealing with a broken pool, but unlike the flipped house, this one is cute.
I’ve been posting occasionally on Instagram @rosemoors if you want to see cute deck pics.
The Fly Lady calls them “hot spots”, I call them Pits of Despair. I’m addressing areas in your house where things multiply like bunnies, like the table right inside the front door, the edge of the kitchen counter, the dining room table… you know the spot I’m talking about. I’m taking on the one nearest the front door today. It’s a disaster, as I truly have not edited it since the oldest munchkin’s graduation party last month.
Most of my inspiration photos show a serene white space with lots of room for storage. (As in the lovely white entry space from the dream house above.) However, my entry space is a dark area surrounded by a room of white. I use two footed compote bowls to hold tissues, keys and sunglasses. These are the only two items that have to stay on the dresser top. All the other items rotate by season.
I’ve topped the dresser with a mirror so the items are lit from below by the weak and diffused light bouncing of the mirror top. There is not much light from overhead to create a really lit area, but with it being just below the television, it’s good to have the light diffuse. Below are my before and after shots.
I lost a paper yesterday. It was an important paper, a referral from a doctor to see the massage therapist because of my car accident last year. I could not find it ANYWHERE.
I knew where it had been, but I’d switched desks with my husband and somewhere in the transition, it was lost.
Paper could easily take over our whole house. Between schooling, work, my art and all the ideas that come with that, paper is everywhere.
The pin I picked for today is another organizing one. I adore binders and page protectors. They’ve helped me in the past to get a handle on all the necessary stuff and get rid of what’s left. This is not easy when you are an artist! So many things (ideas, sketches, references) are written down and then kept. Sometimes they stay for years, with you knowing that eventually they will find their way back into your work.
This is one of the reason I have come to love Pinterest so much! I can keep my concepts there without having to have them on my desk or in the mini cottage we call home. However, sadly, not everything can be kept on Pinterest.
After organizing the whole top of my desk and starting in on the rest of the house, the letter has been found!
I’m caught in the circle of life. Not the grand circle of birth and life and death, but the ones that run inside the grand scheme. The whirlpools that run every day. I stripped the laundry off 7 beds, and started the long process of washing. We went to a party, got groceries and came home to put them away. While we were out, something oozed in the refrigerator. So, I had to wash it all down before putting the groceries away. Of course, I didn’t want to put the lethal cleaning clothes anywhere but directly in the washer, but, of course, it was still full of the last load. So, instead of putting away groceries, I started with the laundry.
Does it feel like that circle gets played out every day, all day for you? The pin I chose to achieve on pinterest today was reading. I rarely step out of my circles to the relaxing place that reading resides. Today I did! Last night I made my mango salsa and today the munchkins got the chips. I acted on my summer reading pin and picked up a book that my girlfriend Patty loaned me. The $64 Tomato. It is hilarious, but mostly because it’s so terribly true. A few years ago both Patty and I happily announced to each other that we’d just planted our gardens. It promptly hailed the next day and killed every single plant.
This year I have a garden plot with 40 tomato plants. Half we carefully planted from seed and labled and watered. Half I got from an organic gardener off of Craig’s List. The munchkins cheerfully offered to plant them while I was out of town taking care of my sister. When I got home the garden was beautifully planted, weedless and green. The lables were in a neat pile at the corner of the garden. I guess we are just going to enjoy mystery tomatoes this year.
I am terrible at remembering names. Remembering your birthday would be even more impossible. However, I have no intention of not giving birthday gifts to people I love. So, thanks to Patty having a birthday 3 days after mine, I’ve gotten into the habit of giving gifts to others on my birthday. (Shout out to my birthday twins Tara and Sylvie too!) I’m also giving myself a gift, the gift of memories and accomplishments.
For the entire month of August I am not pinning on Pinterest, but rather, making all the time I spent pinning worthwhile. I’m picking wishes and dreams, projects and parties from my boards and doing them Now.
So tonight, I went to my first First Friday art night in downtown Vancouver. We got started a little late, but two girlfriends and one of the munchkins and I figured out where the galleries are downtown in the mini art district. We slipped into Aurora Gallery where Tammy found a piece and had it framed for a friend. We peered through the windows at Gallery 360 and Angst and were treated to cupcakes at Gravitate.
This was not a specific pin that I was accomplishing, but rather the whole concept of my Art and Studios board. It pushed me to step out and be around the work of other artists and remind myself what I am doing with my own work, as well as appreciating theirs. One day of pushing myself to enjoy the life inspired by my pins, 30 to go.
When the munchkins were little, there was a magical weekend in the middle of the summer. On this weekend, they would pack up their tent and backpacks and drive away to a camp. At this camp there was a director who would plan events for daddies and their little ones to stay active with all weekend. The kids were girls and boys from 2 to 10 and their brave daddies. All their meals were eaten in the grand mess hall and they had a campfire and treats before bed. They would fish, swim, boat on the pond, have newt races, and lose their voices.
Their mothers would sleep, read a book, ignore the laundry, and make tea. They would catch up with girlfriends and take a shower without small people. They would remember what life before kids was and would be after the whirlwind of young motherhood. They would remember who they were and appreciate the bravery of their spouse. They would be revived. Now that the munchkins are bigger, they still go away with daddy for a day, but it’s now in the winter, to a hotel with a pool and movies, next to a bowling alley and without any diapers in the backpacks. We fill this jar with things to stretch their minds and grow their hearts. When they have completed the challenges, from sitting next to a kid likely to be bullied at school, to writing a poem, to accomplishing an extra tough workout, the weekend will be scheduled.
I’ve been thinking white, white, white for my new house, but I’ve been seeing red everywhere.
Driving home today I contemplated the brevity of life, the state of nature and the pointlessness of fighting to improve the affairs of the physical world. As the sun broke through the clouds and shown down the throughfare, it came to me clearly. I am not to clean things up for me, nor really for “my children” but for the longer reach of people coming after me. Who wants to be born into a world that, though they inhabit it for a mere 80 years this side of eternity, is sickly? Things were put into perspective as I thought about people long before me and long after me, with myself only a single moment in time.
This doesn’t mean that I’m camping, establishing an environmental board, or gasp! doing anything political. What it means is that I think through choices that I make on a daily basis, listen to my spirit more closely, and communicate that with my own munchkins. and you.