Today is a snow day, and we're cooped up inside again. I'm naturally an introvert and an anxious homebody. I went to my daughter's choir concert last night and, honestly, I wanted to pull that grandpa scarfing Doritos and Resses Pieces out of the auditorium by his ear and then just sneak home to the comfort of my fuzzy slippers. I'm not sure how my kid and hubby would have gotten home, but they would have figured it out. This year I've realized that no matter how many t-shirts and coffee mugs are made to celebrate these awkward tendencies, it's not a healthy state of being to get stuck in.
The more time I spend with creative friends and working with people who are not like me, the more I learn about new places, techniques and people, the more interesting my world becomes, the bigger my heart grows, the deeper my art goes. Sounds a little Dr. Seuss-y, doesn't it?
A couple of specific ways I'm doing this are:
- . . . scheduling meet-ups with my artist friends and acquaintances. We share coffee, chat about our daily practices, check out each other's tools, share challenges and solutions and get inspired! If you're an introvert, I encourage you to power through the temptation to stay in your safe place and get out to that show opening or keep that one-on-one lunch date. It will be worth it. Here's a pic of my sweet friend, Holly, and me with her baby, Penny, after a recent visit.
- . . . doing something totally unrelated to art. I started helping teach an English class to Spanish speakers once a week. I have this soft place in my heart for people in our community who are living here in the most extreme "out of their comfort" zone. When I'm sitting in my pastor's office with this precious group of resilient, brilliant adults, I'm experiencing some serious humility and vulnerability on my part, because my Spanish is so poor, and I feel like a fool. Miraculously, it's one of the bright spots in my week. I'm able to teach something I know second-nature, and everything else in my little privileged world is forgotten for 90 minutes. Plus, I'm learning a little Spanish too!
- . . . taking a class. I'm taking an illustration course via MakeArtThatSells.com, and it's been another humbling experience, because there are SO MANY talented, experienced, professional artists in the group. I'm gonna be real- I like to be the best. I'm NOT one of the stellar students in this class. . . but, for some reason, after each assignment, I'm left feeling like I can do amazing things next time! Wooo! Here's a piece I completed for the "all about tea" assignment.
- . . . consuming new art forms and random bits of information:
- My copy of Lori Hetteen's new collection of "Haiku-ish" poetry just came in the mail yesterday. Get your hands on this, if you want to be astounded and delighted by the power seventeen syllables of the English language can have. You'll also want to start following Lori on Instagram STAT. She's been such an encouragement and inspiration to me, and I know you'll love her.
- Sign up for Austin Kleon's newsletter. I read his book, "Show Your Art," several years ago, and it's such a fun, short, creative, informative read for artists. His weekly newsletter is full of random bits and pieces of culture, from ideas on how to get unblocked to music playlists and links to interesting podcasts, books, and interviews. So. Many. Great ways to get out of your own head and get rounded! This morning we followed his link to a great song by Señor Coconut and started off our day with a wacky dance. I think my daughter filmed me, but you won't be seeing THAT!
- A friend on Facebook just tipped me off to the new printing of "Werner's Nomenclature of Colours." I ordered it from Amazon immediately. (It just dropped $5 today!). This book was first published in 1814, and includes hundreds of color swatches corresponding to the most obscure things found in the natural world, like the shade of Prussian blue of the "beauty spot on the wing of a mallard duck." I can't wait to dig in to it!
I'm just loving this winter for all of these reasons. It's such a wonderful time of learning, reflection and growth. I hope you're feeling the same. Let me know how you're taking advantage of nature's sabbatical in the comments. I'd love to connect!