I have just started my second quarter at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. In my first quarter I encountered many thoughts and ideas. The most readily applicable to the majority of people is the Rule of Life. This phrase is frequently used to describe the guidelines used as as the construction blocks for your time, actions, interactions, and resources. Encompassed in the Rule of Life are concepts of rest, simplicity, lament, honoring the body, listening, stewardship, solitude, silence, guidance, and discernment. I have been creating a Rule of Life for myself for years without calling it that. I venture to say that with some reflection you have too, consciously or subconsciously. I crafted my first overt Rule of Life in 2012 and called it Rules for Healthy Living. It was followed by a revised list in 2014. My current list is very much streamlined as evidenced by the image about, but no less comprehensive in scope as each word is an inclusive umbrella term encompassing many regulatory elements common to the Rule of Life ideology:
Read: Guidance, Discernment, Lectio
Pray: Listening, Guidance, Lament, Discernment, Examen, Stillness
Rest: Honoring the Body, Stewardship, Stillness
I encourage you to consider what rules are governing your life. Are they taking you in directions that are helpful and constructive? Do you want to be going in another direction? Prayerfully ruminate on what your Rule of Life is. Write it out and place it somewhere as a reminder of the direction you want to be moving in. I made a little sticky note on my computer desktop since as a student I am looking at that screen for hours every day.
As I have started feeling better I have begun reading books again. Those of you that know me well, or have known me for a long time know that I LOVE BOOKS! Always have & always will. When I was younger the most grievous punishment my parents could inflict was to ground me from my extracurricular reading.... #NERDALERT I hadn't even realized I was no longer pursuing long form reading, thinking that perhaps my interests had shifted & that I was no longer into books. Nope, that was pernicious bacteria taking over. I LOVE BOOKS! Some wonderful books I have read in the past few months include, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball, Dirt Work by Christine Byl & Midnight in Siberia by David Greene.
The crux of each book
Ender's Game; "When I understand my enemy well enough to kill him, in that moment I also love him." I recommend reading the entire series!
The Dirty Life: Sometimes the life you think you want is not the life for you. And the life for you might be much more complicated & hard, but it will be satisfying.
Dirt Work: What does it mean to labor? Is there value in physically draining work?
Midnight in Siberia: Excellent perspective shifter on Russian values.
John Green posted a Vlogbrothers video this week that I have included below. It is the inspiration for this post.
I think it is fun to look inside artists sketchbooks, so here is a glimpse into mine for the past two weeks. I worked on developing an alphabet alongside my usual pattern & face doodles. Happy Tuesday Y'all!
"Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end. He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was." -Jackson Pollock
I do not seek to be confrontational in the manner of Pollock. In fact, it would seem that my abstracts seek to blend in, at the moment. That may be every bit as subversive. Certainly things to think about. Happy Thursday Y'all!
After a month of not painting why not tackle the biggest white expanse you can find? That is certainly my M.O. This painting is 22"x30". Also why not change the paper while you are at it? I used Rives BFK, my all time favorite paper, which is a cotton rag mould made cold press, as opposed to the HOT press Arches watercolor paper I had been using for this series. I figured why not tackle the large paper? There is no time like the present. It is very exciting to be painting again & I am on the lookout for even larger paper. Happy Thursday Y'all!
This summer I learned how to make strawberry jam. I have made it a few times before, but this summer I feel like I really understood the process & could make it by myself, if I was inclined. There are many steps, but first among them is acquiring strawberries in bulk. The most delicious way to do that is pick them yourself. I do not remember the last time I ate something as tasty as the first strawberry. You have to test the strawberries, in the field; it is important to choose a strawberry you think will be good & then find out if it is, so as you go along picking you will have an idea of what to look for. Truly the warm sweetness that cascaded in my mouth was a version of Beulah. If I had not had an expert jam maker leading the process I would have been lost. I would not have know to test a strawberry, just how clean to make the jar tops, or a half a teaspoon of butter in the berries before the pectin makes all the difference (because butter makes everything better). All of these things are critical to a successful finished product. Expertise, know-how, knowledge, whatever you want to call it, is as crucial to this process as it is to art-making. You need to approach with a beginners wonder & openness and take in the knowledge & process of a pro. Sometimes you can be your own teacher thru trial & error, but other times you can learn from a master & then take what you learn & make it your own. Thank you Mary for teaching me about jammin'. Happy Friday Y'all!
These appeal to me more in their solitude than in the repetition of form, at least as stand alone paintings. Staying away from stripes for this week has been interesting, but I am not yet willing/able to set my course away from them so this is likely to be the last moon for awhile. It is interesting how what can feel liberating in the beginning (painting circles) can still feel so other in the end even after hours of practice. Happy Thursday Y'all!
Progress/Process continues on the Domino Moons. I am intrigued by the reactiveness of the Mars Black. I wish that in the color profiles Winsor & Newton and Dr. Ph. Martin provide they would give insight into how fast certain colors move. Do I really wish that? Perhaps not, because that is a huge part of the investigative painting that I do everyday & if I knew how fast the paint would be drawn to salt or it speed in spreading across a wet paper then I would miss the excitement & joy of discovery. In the meantime I will construct a "speed chart" in my head & perhaps some day on paper. Happy Tuesday Y'all!
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