a painting is never finished

The other day, I was working on my latest impressionist landscape of Fairfield, Enjoy the Beach, when I looked over at the recently completed painting While the Kids are at School hanging on the wall. Suddenly, a few spots that bothered me a bit when I declared the painting “finished” were bothering me a lot.

With paintbrush in hand and a close-enough colored daub of paint already resting on my palette, I made a few simple adjustments that completely changed how I felt about the painting.

I’ve heard the saying before, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (though I’m doubtful he was the source) but this was the first time I’ve had the nerve to potentially “mess up” a “completed work.”

I didn’t mess it up, though. The issues I’d had with the work couldn’t be solved alla prima, so I declared the work “good enough,” called it done, let it dry, posted a photo and explanation of the work online, and even hung it on the wall of my studio. Signed, sealed, delivered.

good enough

Good enough is the grace I give myself in my paintings. In my weavings, in my DIY projects, halloween costumes, I let “better than before” be my guide. During my magical mornings, I do the same thing every day because I know that who I want to become will be built through the identity that these practices foster. I do yoga not just to flex the impressive hand-balancing pretzel poses I’ve trained my body to do, but also to relax into foundational poses in preparation for putting myself in positions I have not mastered. When I do HIIT training at my local gym, I push myself to lift heavy but I know that if I’m straining or my form is suffering, I will go down to a lighter weight.

Through therapy and self care, I’ve learned “good enough” is a gift of softness to myself. However, this softness, this grace does not extend to my writing.

My biggest aspiration for the longest time has been to be a published author. Yet, I don’t publish a thing–not even on this platform, where I have the freedom to share whatever and whenever I please.

Therein lies the problem.

too much creative freedom is stifling.

This may sound counterintuitive, but I firmly believe that creativity is best expressed within boundaries. I’ve got a great example for this: Robocop.

Continue reading “a painting is never finished”

New York Comic-Con 2021: Adam Savage Panel + Covid Differences

On Friday I hopped on the train with my teen and headed into the city with him for the first time since covid began for New York Comic-Con 2021. This wasn’t our first time to the convention—we attended NYCC 2019 and had tickets booked already for 2020’s event that was later cancelled.

We initially had tickets for the whole family, but as the event neared we decided that we didn’t feel comfortable taking our younger son, who’s not yet of age for a vaccine, and ended up taking a couple of my teen’s friends. Though his friends were coming, he still wanted to do a duo costume with me. After some deliberation, we both had the idea at the exact same time(!) that the iconic duo we should dress up as had to be Jay and Silent Bob.

My attempt at making a judgemental Jay face while Silent Bob shows me he’s mastered the mirror selfie

I was away on a girls trip for the week (more about that later!) leading up to the event, so my teen decided with his dad what panels he and I were attending, and didn’t realize we were seeing the world premiere of the new Chucky TV show (which was amazing!!) and Adam Savage, nor did I realize the sort of royalty that the former MythBusters host is in the Comic-Con circuit. Unlike my husband and son, I’m not invested in any of the specific fandoms represented at the Cons, I’m more of a nerd for Art, Creators, and Costuming.

Continue reading “New York Comic-Con 2021: Adam Savage Panel + Covid Differences”

A Story About Our Colorful Mid Century Modern Inspired Woodland Nursery

Around this time last year, I shared my pregnancy announcement. I showed y’all my babymoon in Paris portrait session, but aside from that, it was radio silence over here about anything baby. But yes, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy in the summer.

Birth announcement foil balloon zero days old

As you know, we moved to our new house recently. What you may NOT know is that we moved in exactly three weeks before I gave birth.

My pregnancy was less than ideal, and at one point I was put on bed rest. So when we moved in, I wasn’t able (nor did I have enough energy) to get started on my projects! It was looking like the baby would come into the world without a space to call his own.

Continue reading “A Story About Our Colorful Mid Century Modern Inspired Woodland Nursery”

Painting Class in Fairfield County with David Dunlop

One of the hardest things about returning to blogging is that I have SO many pictures, reference notes, and experiences to share that I don’t know what to pick!

I decided to install a random picker app, put a few ideas on there, and let it help. I use Tiny Decisions.

Random selection app

There’s no affiliation, but the name did help me decide which app to download 😉

Today I’m going to talk about one of the painting classes I took last winter.

Continue reading “Painting Class in Fairfield County with David Dunlop”

Living Small with a Maximalist Mid Mod Eclectic Living Room

Prior to yesterday, the last time I wrote was when I had only a few days left before we moved into our new house. I shared with you a home tour of our first Connecticut house, though it was staged in those photographs for selling. As promised, here are some pictures of what our communal space looked like as we lived in it.

Maximalist Mid Century Modern Decor in a Small Space

Upon entering our previous home, there was a mud room just big enough for a small closet. On the other side of that door, you were first greeted by these stairs.

eclectic mid century modern living room-4

I wallpapered the stair risers with this gorgeous metallic wallpaper from Jonathan Adler. The paper was a real splurge, but I still have enough to do a decent size project again and it was, in my opinion, the biggest “wow” feature I could have in a small space.

eclectic mid century modern living room-5

They’ve since discontinued this wallpaper from Jonathan Adler, as well as most of the others that were produced by his brand.

On the wall going up the stairs was my collection of photographs from our travels and some of the more exciting experiences we’ve had that were on or off the bucket list. I called this wall my “gallery of adventures.” With it being up the stairs, it was very hard to shoot, but here’s a glance.

Almost all of the frames were thrifted, and if they weren’t already a shade of bronze or gold, I sprayed them with Rustoleum Metallic.

eclectic mid century modern living room-6

The pink French door led to the mudroom. I painted it myself. It was white, along with everything else, when we moved in. Check out New House Project Plans to see the beginnings of this space. It was a real blank canvas.

Those footstools were from Homegoods. I thought they were totally unnecessary when I bought them, but I couldn’t resist the fact that they were the perfect colors to go with the rug.

I ended up putting them near the entrance so that we could sit and remove our winter boots somewhere other than the stairs. We did this, but far more frequently we’d move them over to the coffee table as additional seating for board and card games.

eclectic mid century modern living room-8

Both of the wingback chairs were thrifted for $25 each, but a few years apart. One day I’ll at least reupholster that mauve-y one. The black and white striped pillows were a couple of my first sewing machine projects. The fabric is from Ikea.

eclectic mid century modern living room-9

When we moved in to this home, one of the first things I did was remove the bamboo blinds and add sheer curtains. It allowed for just enough privacy but made for a lot of natural light that ultimately helped the small space feel larger.

eclectic mid century modern living room-12

Here’s a wider shot of the living room. In it you can see the weaving that I created with a hula hoop. Going through these pictures is making me so nostalgic!

eclectic mid century modern living room-15

For every meal (or any other activity), I sat on the right, facing the water. I really loved the view of the pond and that we could see it from so many angles of the little house.

eclectic mid century modern living room-17

We added these shelves out of necessity–there wasn’t much cabinet space in that kitchen at all! They were simple shelves from IKEA with traditional white brackets from the hardware store for support, painted gold. eclectic mid century modern living room-19

There originally wasn’t a light fixture above the dining table at all, so when I had this one from West Elm installed with stained glass lightbulbs, it made a big impact.

eclectic mid century modern living room-23

And in the center of it all was our not-once-used fireplace and the definitely used TV that came with the house. We hadn’t had a TV for a few years prior and we left it when we sold…but I admit, we bought another TV 🙃

—–

And that’s all she wrote! This space, and the projects that I created within it seem like ancient history now, but there may be times I want to reference it or I may decide to finally share half-written step-by-step tutorials for some of these projects.

One Room Challenge: Week Five

one room challenge guest participant
Another One Room Challenge from Calling it Home this week! To keep you up to speed, here’s  the first week, the third week, and last week‘s posts.

This is the last update post before the big reveal this upcoming Wednesday, and I definitely was feeling the pressure of a nearing deadline. On Wednesday, I used wood stain to give the inexpensive baskets I bought a more cohesive look.

staining ikea jassa baskets with wood stainwood stain baskets progresswood stained baskets final

The above lighting isn’t the best, but you catch my drift.

Thursday looked like this all day:

process of sewing shower curtain

 

And I eventually added all of the sewing and trim that I wanted to add to that shower curtain.

jungalow shower curtain detailjungalow shower curtain detail bathroom

This is only my second sewing machine project, my first being Tobias’ Elvis halloween costume, and I was really proud of the results. Even though it was very simple, it makes a big difference to me!

The wallpaper finally arrived in the mail this week, which is really good because there were other things I was having to hold off on doing until I had installed it. It’s going to make a world of difference!

Here’s where we are now…

My One Room Challenge List:

  1. Get inspired!
  2. Render the plan
  3. Order wallpaper
  4. Install wallpaper
  5. Inside cabinet area
  6. Replace cabinet hardware
  7. Spray paint vintage frame
  8. Install it around light fixture
  9. buy accessories
  10. make fabric cornice board above window
  11. Make bathroom caddy
  12. Sand and stain bathroom caddy
  13. Buy fabric
  14. Add length to shower curtain
  15. Stain baskets

See y’all on Wednesday!

Create like you’re eight

Remember when I wrote about how to raise an artist? Not too long ago, my son started taking his art very seriously. He was shutting himself in his room all of the time. On weekends, when he’s able to use his computer, he was watching YouTube video after YouTube video underneath his loft bed, littering his floor with crumpled printer paper with half-done drawings, and aside from the occasional whir from his automatic pencil sharpener, there was hardly a trace of him.

On school nights, after homework, the sight was similar, but minus the screens. Door shut and increased interest on his art. This even showed up.

please knock

I respected his newfound assertion of privacy, but at the same time, I was a bit worried.

Eventually, we decided that if he was going to spend that much time watching YouTubers, he should contribute. After some encouragement from my sister, we made his first YouTube video to share the art he had been working on.

He got such a great response, and he’s kept up making the videos week after week.

I’m new to video, it’s something I’ve never experimented with before. I already have a subscription to the Adobe products on the creative cloud to edit photos, but these videos have been the first things I’ve ever used Premier Pro to create.

It’s funny, because with writing, drawing, painting, designing/decorating a room, or anything else creative, I’m so slow to finish. It can be a brief blog post, but it gets drawn out to days or weeks of labor. It can take me six months to buy the materials for a project I’ve been dreaming of making.

But with these videos, it’s different.

I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing and with being kind of bad at editing the videos, for a change. He’s eight and I’m twenty-eight, but as creators, we’re so both so intolerant of imperfections. We have these creative ideas and want everything to look like it was when we first imagined it. He has his floor littered with drawings that missed the mark. My abandoned ideas are more hidden: half written essays, twenty-two unfinished posts in my drafts folder on wordpress, a collection of supplies from craft mishaps.

During the first video, if he was worried about mistakes, I’d just keep reminding him: “You’re eight! No one expects you to be perfect!” And as I edit them, he has to remind me the same.

If only I could take that stance for the other things I do, if I could take the pressure off and recognize that I’m not expected to do anything just right, right away. The pressure is self-imposed, but it’s been hardwired after years of good taste but not-quite-there-yet levels of skill. It’s so challenging to be a beginner and an amateur that few ever get to be where they want without giving up.

My hope, for my son, for me, and for you, if you’re afraid to start or afraid to share your work, is that you’ll do it anyway. And that when you see people proudly share their work, you’ll remember the bravery that it takes to do so. That you’ll always keep in mind that to share something created is exposing the most vulnerable parts and that it’s scary as all get out to do.

Take it from one of the greatest:

finish it

How’s he doing now?

Now that I found a way to get more involved by sharing of what he makes, he’s more open to sharing during the process. He’s not hiding in his room the same way. As you can see above, we’ve been doing weekly videos for six weeks now, without fail. It’s something we can do together, and I’m showing him how to work the programs as I’m learning.

It’s hard, because bullies from school go to his channel and ridicule him. One even insulted his artwork. While my heart is breaking, he is still confident: “Well, where’s his videos? Where’s his art?” The bravery that he exudes in the face of adversity is admirable.

Create like you’re eight

  1. Create because it’s fun. Not to be the best.
  2. Allow yourself be a beginner.
  3. Share fearlessly, so that others know it’s okay to be a beginner. Your progress will show over time.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Notice who throws insults, and don’t take it personally.
  6. Never stop having fun!

Like his content? Subscribe to Tobias’ Channel! 

 

Where am I?

It’s been a little over four months since I deactivated my personal Facebook page and stopped posting on Instagram. Once active on the sites, it can seem strange to my friends and family. My grandmother asked if it had anything to do with what I considered minor family drama. My mother, who liked to show her coworkers the posts of mine shared by brands, couldn’t understand why I stopped sharing my photography so suddenly.

In truth, it wasn’t suddenly at all. Stepping away from those spaces is something I considered doing for years, but always had a different excuse. First, I worked in social media. I couldn’t deactivate my Facebook page or I wouldn’t be able to post for the businesses I represented. Second, how would I share my blog to a bigger audience? How would I encourage readership? Is that even possible without social media? Third, how would I stay connected to people whom this was my only method? Continue reading “Where am I?”

My Creative Journey & Some Reflections

I went to Boston over the weekend. I didn’t Snapchat or take a single picture while I was there. It was my third time visiting the city, so  I didn’t do any touristy things and I won’t be making a guide to Boston. I went to visit a friend of mine and it was the kind of trip where two people are bonding with one another, with no need for rushing from one activity to the next. It was blissful.

The following post is a bit allovertheplace. It’s a scattering of the helpful things I’ve been doing, the media I’ve been consuming, and some decisions I’ve come to on my creative journey over the past year or so. It’s half-organized into the trip I took over the weekend. The metaphors are there and intentional. Maybe you’ll catch them all. Maybe not. Bear with me. I’m working on a New Year’s Resolution, after all. Continue reading “My Creative Journey & Some Reflections”

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