One of Those Days: Letting Things Go

August 9, 2009

090806Dogink Left: Journal page with dog sketch (dip pen and Ziller glossy black acrylic ink). Fortune attached before I got to the page. Gouache background painted after ink sketch.

Today is the 10th month of more than daily posting on the blog. A tick mark on towards other goals. I had hoped to list a bunch of links from readers who responded to last month's "quiz" (about which blogs they read) but preparation for an art show (yesterday's opening was very well attended and great fun as well) and other matters intruded. It just hasn't been possible to pull that material together yet. It will come shortly.

This made me think about how we often have to let things go—our best laid plans, our schemes. We have to be a bit flexible. I'm all for pushing when even when things seem hopeless, but I'm also flexible enough to see when it's kinder to take an alternate path. I think we have to look for those alternate paths as they present themselves. I could rush and finish the "links" post, but then other things might not get done that need attention, serious attention. And so it goes. But there is also the siren call of still posting daily…

Today is about living with those contradictions and forces pulling in opposite directions. And this reminded me of Thursday night. All all I wanted to do was a dip pen sketch before I went to bed. Opening the jar was a struggle, even with the wedge-shaped jar pinching and opening device I have. When I did get it open I promptly spilt acrylic ink all over my hand, the bottle, and part of the floor. I cleaned it up quickly and moved into the kitchen for more paper towels. I wasn't paying attention to the jar when I pulled the towels off the roll. The holder chose that moment to collapse and my ink-jar-holding hand tilted and suddenly there was a new mess of ink on a new floor to clean up. And since I had also spilt ink on my bare foot, when I walked to the pantry for more towels I made interesting footprints, all in acrylic ink. My brain and my reflexes were just 3 seconds out of sync.

Thank goodness for tile floors! And breathing!

I did manage to get everything cleaned up; and determined to make that sketch, I made my way back into the studio. As I decanted a small amount of ink into a plastic cap (the purpose of this holder, a thimble-sized waterbottle spout cover is to have only as much ink as I need out so that if it spills disasters are avoided—Ha, ha) I of course spilt ink all over my tool tray table.

Several paper towels later I did get to sketch and the above sketch is the third one for the evening. My hands were blackened with ink, but miraculously clean enough that none transferred to the cover of my journal—the only item in the room left ink-free.

Friday I had the opportunity to spend several delightful hours with 3-1/2-year-old Eric. He arrived before I had my socks and shoes on and I decided to explain the previous night's events behind my scrubbed but still blackened toes. In my best "then this happened, and then this happened," excited tone I explained the various mishaps. He smiled, he nodded, but at each natural pause in the narrative his clear and curious voice asked, "Why?" It wasn't a formulaic question, common to toddlers. Eric's tone and pause, his thoughtful look, all demonstrated he really wanted to understand the why of the events.

We all wonder about the why of things, big and little. All I knew was I had to move forward, and that even covered with ink, it was important to do so. So I could draw. Sometimes it's necessary to let go of things, but it's also always good to push ahead and get your sketching done.

Children understand this—but they also need to hear an adult say this.

  1. Reply

    This so mirrors what I am experiencing right now. The choices, the mishaps, in step and sequence and the disappointed look on people’s faces as I make decisions. To read that I am not the only one – I relate and it’s good. Thank you for your blog, it’s how I start my day.

    • Roz
    • August 9, 2009

    Hillary, hang in there, and keep on sketching! It’s a great tonic. And don’t pay attention to the disappointed looks on anyone’s face—just look inside to your own guide!

    • Roz
    • August 9, 2009

    Thanks Sally, thank you for coming to the show, it was good to get to chat for a moment! It was a fun evening.

  2. Reply

    It’s funny but I’ve been thinking about three attributes that successful people have, a positive outlook, flexibility, and adaptability… for me the difference between flexible and adaptable is very subtle… they both have parts of each in their makeup. But to me flexible is an brain thing and adaptable if a physical thing. Anyways… loved your post… too bad about the ink… you certainly persevered. That’s why you’re so successful.

    • Roz
    • August 9, 2009

    Thanks Jon, I think I could be more flexible, and so the ink helps me learn that. But at the same time I’m inflexible about some things I won’t give up, such as sketching, even when I am covered in ink, and not very nimble. I guess what pushes me forward is that I know, no matter how bad I feel before I start to sketch I will fell so much better—even if the drawing doesn’t turn out—after I finish. And I think there must be some positive health benefits in that!

    The nice thing about having a flexible brain is that it discovers easier things, quicker things, more elegant things. This afternoon when I was putting the loaves on the peel to insert into the oven Dick stood off in the doorway about 12 feet away, watching me go through my “steps” of dusting the peel, transferring the loaves from the towels they rest on, dusting them, cutting their tops, popping them into the oven (sliding them off the peel), getting the water, tossing in the water, setting the timer. He made a comment about how he enjoyed watching me do things—my rituals and steps.

    Well I enjoy having things work like that, like clockwork. From practice. And it seems to me, the more I put myself in the way of journaling practice, even if I spill ink all over myself, something good is going to come from it. (Less caloric than bread!)

    I have been known, however Jon, to really dig in too! So flexibility is definitely a continuum.

  3. Reply

    I know that dropsy dance so well, where knocking over one thing leads to another. I did the same thing yesterday with coffee. I reached over a cup of coffee on the table to place a wet oil painting in the rack at the back of the table, behind the coffee. I missed, knocked over the coffee, which spilled all over numerous pages of photos I’d printed out to use for reference material in a painting, and just missing a treasured out of print art book. I was so grateful it didn’t get the book that I didn’t care about the mess and having to print out those pics again.

  4. Reply

    PS I love the sketch, the wonderful color, and the little dog’s expression, seeming to say, What the heck are you doing with that ink?”

    • Roz
    • August 10, 2009

    Eek! Jana, so glad that only replaceable items got a coffee bath. I spill my paint water sometimes, but I don’t have any beverages in the studio because I know my spill rate would go way up (and I’d probably reach for the beverage and drink something else). Let’s face it, I try to be coordinated but if there were hidden cameras in the studio I’d be getting a lot of hits on You-Tube for “stuff you just won’t believe!”

    • Roz
    • August 10, 2009

    Thanks Jana.

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