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.
One of the first things I have done in almost every painting class I have taken is paint a color chart or a color wheel. I never gave much thought to that in my current practice, but then yesterday I was painting this chart after acquiring the Dr. Ph. Martin's Set #2, & it occurred to me that painting a color chart is a great introduction to your materials, while simultaneously removing the pressure to produce "art." The first block I painted was the sepia, as a lefty I work from the upper right across the page. It was so granular that I am emailing the company today to find out if this is usual. Rest assured I had thoroughly shaken the bottles before testing, as who knows how long they were on the shelf. The burnt umber & sap green also had some granulation, but nothing compared to the sepia. If I had not done the color chart I would not have known this paints attributes & might have mistakenly placed a dropper of them on a painting expecting them to morph in the manner of the others. I would have wrecked a painting. So what am I saying with all of this? Check your materials whatever they may be, know their properties & attributes & learn how to best work with them. I am sure there is a life lesson in there. Happy Tuesday Y'all!
P.S. Contacted Dr. Ph. Martin regarding the sepia. Response within 5 minutes, new bottle on the way. Customer Service for the Win!
I often go to the bookstore on Sunday evenings; it's relatively quiet & you can puruse in peace. Last night I found three wonderful books that just had to come home with me. Pom-Poms! by Sarah Goldschadt & Lexi Walters Wright, Made by Hand by Lena Corwin, & Dog Songs by Mary Oliver. The only one of those I had previously heard of was Dog Songs. It is so spot on (pun intended) in describing dogs, that any person has spent a modicum of time around fido will attest to their veracity & enjoy a knowing chuckle.
Pom-Poms! sucked me in thoroughly with 25 varied pom projects. I love a good polka dot & pom poms are just their natural progression into three dimensional form. So excited to try out some of these projects!
Last but certainly not least there was the Made by Hand book. The first project with rolling pin printing captivated me so thoroughly that I knew I was not leaving the store without this book. The other projects that followed were equally compelling. I am so looking forward to pursuing some of these projects a bit further. Huge props to Lena Corwin for compiling such a wonderful collection.
I would certainly encourage you to check out these books. They have gotten me excited about a lot of different things, which I think is crucial for maintaining a balanced studio practice & in the case of Dog Songs left me thoroughly amused. I leave you with Mary Oliver reading a poem from Dog Songs. Happy Monday Y'all!
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