Freddie’s Friday’s Fantastic Finds

NOT Freddie, Male ModelDear all my dearest fans,

SInce retiring Peggy & Judy (hereby referred to as P & J) have not been able to keep me in the style in which I prefer to be kept.  Gourmet doggie treats, doggie day care and trips to the salon are not, so they say,  in their Social-Security-check budget (Social Security, it seems, is neither very social nor secure . ..  for canines).

I thought about crowd-funding but have settled on T-shirts.  They require no ironing and are user-friendly (the T-shirts as well as P & J).

Please buy my T-shirts. click here zazzle.com/store/curioustothemax.  They make wonderful Canine Companion Clothing for all  dog and human-walking.  I promise to use all the proceeds for MY DOGGONE GOOD.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCE

Certified Canine Entrepreneur

https://www.zazzle.com/store/curioustothemax

Struggling to surrender to life

My biggest struggle is to not struggle.   The more I struggle to push through fibromyalgia fatigue, and stay engaged in life, the more fatigued I become.  After over 2 decades of living with a chronic condition struggling has become a self-defeating habit.

judy

Soul Pancake “. . . brought in people ages 0-100 to answer some of life’s big questions. In this episode, we asked people “what are you struggling with right now?” From homework to depression, one thing rings true: humans, at any age, are struggling with something.

What about you, what are you struggling with right now? Share your experience in the comments section if you feel up for it.”

 

Peek into my Painted LIfe – Life Imitates Art

Taking a painting class as well as life drawing.   Because of a class schedule mix-up, the class is oil PORTRAIT PAINTING – a bit more advanced than I am and I use acrylic paint which is a bit trickier for portraits.  Luckily the assignments are using photographs which are already reduced to 2 dimensions, making it a bit easier. 

The teacher, mercifully, explained that paintings go through ugly stages and with each layer of paint the image gets a bit more refined. 

It occurred to me that in life we go through ugly stages before we become more refined.  Like paintings we all have layers and layers of “stuff” beneath the surface of what others see. Here’s a Peek at mine (painting that is, not life):

He’s not quite finished . . . like life, the closer I look the more I find that needs changing, tweaking . . .  and like my hair . . . re-coloring . . .

judy

Judy’s “Psycho-Logical” Mind – How to live in the present moment

I always smile when people tell me they want to figure out how to live in the present moment.  My response is – it’s impossible not to live in the present moment, the present is all there is . . . this very nano-second in time.   

Full Disclosure

I’m simultaneously blessed and cursed.  I remember very little of my past (including yesterday) and have difficulty thinking about the future. I have to concentrate to plan ahead, only have goals if they have been imposed and my sense of time is . . . if it weren’t for the sun or the clock I’d have no sense of time . . .

My brain doesn’t “think” whole thoughts but rather gathers impressions, patterns, concepts.  When whole thoughts, words, come out of my mouth (or the computer keyboard) it’s the first time I’ve heard them.

It’s not that I practice living in the present moment . . . it’s simply how my brain is hard-wired.  If your brain is similarly hard-wired you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If your brain is wired differently you may be goal-oriented, remember details about your childhood, even be prone to anxiety and stymied about what I’m trying to describe.

Why it’s called “peace of MIND”

It’s our THINKING that focuses on the past or the future.  The measure of our peace of MIND is determined by how much we are able to focus our thinking in the present.

That’s largely why meditation, reading, sewing, exercise, painting . . . doing anything that captures your attention as you experience it creates the “flow” where past and future are not in your thoughts.

 Every time we think “should have”, “could have”, or “would have” we are THINKING about past experience. Every time we become anxious or fearful we are THINKING about a future, which may or may not happen. 

Maybe your reaction is . . .  that doesn’t make sense, for someone who spent decades as a psychotherapist analyzing, dissecting, bisecting life’s experiences, expectations and beliefs.   

“One hours reflection is worth 70 years of pious worship”

Because we are a composite of all our past choices and experiences, thinking, reflecting on the past is important IF our focus is to learn and grow.  Reflection about our past or future, without learning, is not usually helpful when we stay stuck in  “shoulds”, “coulds”, “woulds” or “what if’s”.

Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is all you have, however, your brain is wired. 

Reflect on that.

The HeART of Spirituality

GOD’S ART – POINTILLISM

“Each of these 48,741 dots represents a galaxy.

Each galaxy is a collection of billions of stars. The stars themselves trap untold planets, asteroids, and possibly even life in their gravitational clutches.”

cmass-0

“But this image, which is just one-twentieth of the night sky, is a mere pinprick of a window into the universe. The universe is thought to be 93 billion light-years wide. The width of this image is 6 billion light-years.”

Read the entire article, click HERE

 Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Pointillism used the science of optics to create colors from many small dots placed so close to each other that they would blur into an image to the eye. This is the same way computer screens work today. The pixels in the computer screen are just like the dots in a Pointillist painting.

 

Peek into my Sketchy Life – Nudes, neck down and neck up

I’m getting a bit bored with pencil and charcoal . . . I seem to bore easily . . . so

Charcoal on paper, 10 minute sketch

Charcoal & pastel chalk, 10 minute sketch

. . . .I’m trying to break out of my sketchy rut and not be so preoccupied with getting exact likenesses.  It is an ART class . . .Acrylic Paint on canvas board, 7,031 hours & 24 minutes

This actually is a pretty good likeness of the photograph.  The woman had a black eye but I swear I’m innocent.

This was an experiment pasting collage paper on the canvas and then painting over the paper – creates texture and FUN.

judy

A WELL DONE WOMAN – Carla Sonheim

We hope you enjoy and perhaps are even inspired by the series to celebrate women who, in our estimation, are “well done.  

What’s a “Well Done Women”?

  • She has weathered decades of life experience.
  • She’s navigated life changes – whether by choice, chance or necessity –  learns and continues to adapt.
  • She contributes to the world in diverse ways, small or large, sharing her values through social causes, charities, or caring for people, the planet & animals.
  • She is curious, creative and open to learning or having new experiences.

 Carla Sonheim, a WELL DONE WOMAN.

When her boys were young she taught art in their elementary school classrooms. Carla explained, “There I was tasked (happily!) with keeping the lessons both fun AND instructional, and when I began teaching adults a few years later, I continued this approach as I found that many people felt nervous about drawing especially… it helped to keep it FUN! From those two teaching experiences Drawing Lab was born.”

She and her husband Steve live in Seattle, Washington, just 10 minutes away from their three beautiful grandchildren.

Carla Sonheim helped jump-start my (judy) drawing.  Years ago, I took her on-line class “Silly” and have followed her on her blog and taken other classes since.

By Carla Sonheim

___________________

Here’s Carla’s response to the question of how she deals with feelings that “. . . art isn’t important and what the hell is art good for?”

” . . .My answer has three parts:

  1. The short answer, I think, is that the artwork I create isn’t really good for anything much at all. A few people might like it and enjoy it, but in the grand scheme of things, the artwork I make doesn’t matter all that much. Most of the time it just goes in drawers!
  2. On the other hand, it is ALL that matters.
  3. Or somewhere, anywhere, in between, depending on the moment and my mood.”

By Carla

* * *

Chinese writer and artist Gao Xingjian wrote (and this is from memory, so I might get it wrong): “An artist never changed the world; self-fulfillment is the best he can hope for.”

“I think this quote speaks to the first part of the above answer, where I feel that artwork I make — the actual drawings and paintings —  really aren’t that important.”

“It’s very likely that my work is never going to be collected by art galleries or museums, and most of the artwork I make is never going to be seen by more than a few people. So why do it?”

“BUT! We’re forgetting the PROCESS if we think that way.”

“The actual making of artwork provides me with three things:

1. “When I draw or paint, I feel better. I feel calmer, happier. I’m doing something I like to do, which makes me a happier person, which makes my husband and the rest of my family, happier people.”

2. “When I draw or paint, I am solving problems and challenging myself, and there is satisfaction in that… humans love to learn!! A side benefit… these problem-solving skills I can take into the rest of my world, such as running the business or navigating a friendship.”

3. “When I draw or paint, I either have something I like at the end of it that I can share or something that goes into the scrap drawer to be painted over later… a physical piece of work.”

“You can see that the artwork itself is just one of the three things above, just 1/3 of the benefits! The other two things are arguably ways that you would encourage anyone to spend their time doing — doing something they love and learning new things.”

* * *

“So that is what I mean when I say that making art is “ALL” that matters. It is something I love and it is the thing with which I choose to spend the bulk of my “learning” time. In other words, making artwork is my way of being in this world, interpreting it, trying to make sense of it.”

“Other people do it through sports or exercise, science, business, homemaking, cooking… we all have our things that we do that seem both frivolous at times (even cooking, does it matter in the grand scheme of things whether to use regular salt or sea salt?), but serve as the conduit through which we live our lives.”

“Therefore, it is “everything.”

“I learn from drawing and painting that life is full of paradox. There is duality in everything… we both love and hate, we both must be gentle and firm, etc.”

“For example, when I draw, I have to hold two seemingly contradictory things at the same time: I have to try and be gentle with myself and at the same time try and improve/get better (which means that at some level I know there is room for improvement, which is where the gentleness comes in).”

Collage Lady, by Carla

* * *

Finally, even though I know the above is true in my head, I get off track on a regular basis and feel dumb about all of the hundreds (thousands?) of drawings I have in drawers and what have I done with my life?!!

I find life wonderful, but I also find life very hard.

I do have clinical depression and, though it is mostly managed, it kicks my butt some days.  So sometimes I don’t do well at all with the feeling; I cast about.

Other days, when I’m feeling better, I can reach out to a friend and they can help remind me that I am okay just as I am, whatever I do with my time is my own business (as long as I’m not hurting people) and that taking an hour to draw a silly animal today is really okay.

Sometimes I read books by other creatives on the “why of creativity”… “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron are two that have helped me…

Mostly I try to remember that the feeling that I suck, my artwork sucks, life sucks… will pass. It always does (with the help of medicine and people around me… and drawing and painting).

And I’m pretty sure that the fact that I feel bad about all the art sitting in drawers is just a substitute for feeling bad about myself IN GENERAL, and that if I can continue to work on that (paradoxically, THROUGH making my artwork), the rest will take care of itself.

Collage Bird, by Carla