Seeking Solitude…Avoiding Loneliness

Seeking Solitude…Avoiding Loneliness

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Early November, I packed up my pastels and some necessary clothes and other sundries and headed to the desert for a personal painting retreat. I had booked this trip some months ago when spurred on by Alaska Airlines fare deals. I could fly from San Francisco to Palm Springs and back for a mere $150. Sold! Then I secured a hidden gem of an accommodation on Airbnb situated right on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park. Car rented, house/pet instructions given to my family, shuttle to the airport booked…I was ready.
Arriving in the dark of desert night driving up an unpaved sandy road with only my econo rental’s headlights to light my way, I finally arrived after some unsure twists and turns. Settling in and unpacking groceries and toiletries, I walked outside to look at the desert sky. YES! A week of uninterrupted painting and doing WHATEVER I wanted WHENEVER I wanted. What a concept. Years of service in the nursing profession, immediately followed by raising a family, it certainly was an odd feeling to have no responsibility…
The morning came with hot pink skies of sunrise….oh I was too tired to get up and catch them…
there will be more I’m sure. A little later, several visitors came to see the new arrival. BUNNIES…adorable cottontail bunnies waiting for me to sprinkle a little rabbit kibble for them.
My new muses had arrived…with deft movement I captured them on my inadequate iPhone camera for future reference…
And so continued a week in the desert. Early morning sunrises, visiting bunnies, walks in the Joshua Tree National Park. And painting. I finished 10 paintings of the desert and of course some of the bunnies…I just couldn’t resist.
By about the fifth day, I began to feel the twinge of homesickness and loneliness….what’s this? ME? Vagabond, world traveler, solo free spirit…what was this all about? I can’t really answer it except to say that age has mellowed me a bit…helped me settle…I don’t need to do it all anymore…being at home with my family and animals and painting everyday in my studio and playing the piano…these are my favorite things…Content to be grateful for what I have and releasing the need to seek …. Don’t get me wrong…I adore my solitude…but perhaps in smaller doses.

Cheers and love to you during this holiday season when everything is just a little bit tender….

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Support Matters

Support Matters

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In the art world, there is a language one must learn. Outline translates to contour. Form to mass. Lightness or darkness of an image to value. Color = hue.
In the pastel world, the surface you apply your pastel to is referred to as support. There are an array of supports one can use… sanded surface, un-sanded surface, prepared surface with a grit substance called gesso. Each has its own unique properties when receiving the application of pastel.
I have tried them all and am convinced that SUPPORT MATTERS…
Today I can put a vote in for Pastelmat by Clairfontaine. It’s like no other surface I have worked on before. It takes the pastel in a unique way. Difficult to describe. You’ll just have to try it for yourself!
Support matters….in life, too. Sometimes it’s the make it or break it moment when the support you ask for is given or not… As a parent of two adult children who are in the productive “making it” phase of their lives, I am their cheerleader. I am their support. Their coach. Every moment is an opportunity to make their day …. or break it. Support matters.
As an artist…an emerging artist…I am selective to whom I reach out to for support…Usually it is my fellow artists who offer the best support…they’ve been there. Making art is a solitary journey…even if you are in a studio full of others making art at the same moment. Each one of us is putting our creative juices out there for everyone to see…and judge. Be kind. Encouragement goes a long way for one to reach success……Support matters.

~ Be nice to people of your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.
~Wilson Mizner

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Success vs. Satisfaction

Success vs. Satisfaction

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About a year ago I started my online blog documenting my daily artistic journey. It was a way for me to stay accountable to a practice of daily painting and to see my growth. I did not take on this endeavor with the hopes of people even finding me on the world wide web let alone follow me. As time passed and I shared my images and musings of daily life as an artist and mother, woman, dancer, etc., I was pleasantly surprised to receive positive comments and words of appreciation for the art I was sharing. Sharing is what I wanted to do. Isn’t that what we teach our young children? The native peoples of this land measured success not by what they had but by how much they gave away…
So what is success? Is it sales of artwork or any creative expression ? Or is success giving away our joy and beautiful creations? Are we satisfied with our success? That is, how we define our success determines our satisfaction.
This past weekend I fulfilled one of my yearlong goals I set out when I began this journey of artistic expression. I was juried into our county wide annual Open Studios Tour. I opened my studio and my home to the public and I put my creations on display….And to my surprise I was successful and received many visitors who were buzzing about admiring my work and, yes, buying it! And, yes, that was satisfying. As artists, validation comes with the sales of your creations…for someone to want to display your work in their personal space is a great compliment. However, the satisfaction came with the time and energy I gave away to each and every patron who engaged with me and my work. In the studio, I demonstrated technique as I painted on a work in progress. People were amazed that one could created with sticks of bulky chalk. They wanted to do it too! I spread the good news of the medium of pastel as an accessible medium to create one’s own beauty … one’s own satisfaction.
The weekend of October 20th and 21st is encore weekend…All the artists in the county open their doors again to welcome art enthusiasts to their studios and homes. Again, I will be among them..and that brings me great satisfaction….and perhaps success! Follow along on my artistic journey. Please comment below and get updates when I post.
Cheers,
Donna Theresa

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A Change of Seasons

A Change of Seasons

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Season is defined by change….especially on the cusp in between seasons…I feel that transition most when autumn arrives…It’s as if I go to bed one evening and the air is warm and thick with summer only to wake up the next morning with a chill in the air that is thin and crisp and full of the sounds of the waking hours …The light is more luminous as the sun begins to travel lower in the sky which lends to compelling shapes and shadows to stare at and wonder how to render that….
Change is good. I love change..Travel to new places…rearrange the furniture or if that’s impossible at least arrange a new tabletop display…or in my case rotate the many paintings I have in my inventory…the side benefit of being an artist…a never ending supply of wall decor…
Autumn is my favorite season….My birthday is in the fall and my mental calendar starts in the fall. The year starts at the end of September for me…I have to believe that is a leftover memory /feeling from childhood as I anxiously awaited the start of the new school year. Yes, I was one of those kids who loved school…
So tell me…what’s your favorite season and why?
Would love to hear from you…..

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Sunset to Moonrise

Sunset to Moonrise

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This composition I have tackled before….It used to be a sunset entitled
“Settling Down”
I recently treated myself to a new set of Terry Ludwig’s pastel set of 14 luscious violets. So I thought I would rework a piece using a different palette. Now the moon rises….and I have named it Moonlit Sonata….Ironically, right now I am plugging away learning Beethoven”s Moonlit Sonata on the piano. For me, living artistically is the key to my happiness. Whether playing classical piano or rendering beauty in the landscape with pastels, or dancing ballet….I am in my creative element and that brings me joy. What brings you joy? I would love to hear about it….

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