Air Pollution

   It’s a chilly morning in mid-November. Recalling last winter and the worst days of the inversion that traps the capitals smog. Has me looking forward to this winter with grim hesitation. Inversion that holds Air pollution from coal burning stoves, commutes, refiners and other industries, long and low in the Salt Lake valley for days even weeks at a time. It was so bad the air quality suffered noticeably even here in the rural, Central Utah town of Nephi, 84miles from the epicenter of the pollution. Climbing just to the foothills of Mount Nebo you could see a distinct line of haze. Gray brown the color of putty and ash. Hovering just beyond Mona Reservoir. Diluting itself the closer it got to town. There where arguments last winter about whether or not our little town was being plagued by fog or pollution. It is disheartening when individuals cannot see the correlation when such devastating effect of air pollution are so evident just a little over an hour’s drive away.

   Salt Lake City on Tuesday January 31st 2017 was ranked by the Environmental Protection Agency as the worst air in the nation. A startling assessment given the USA is second only to China in the world for pollution and emission. The city seems to make headlines every year. Surpassing the pollution levels of known polluter Bakersfield California. The City has made miniscule efforts in curbing the emission problems it’s faced. Passing an anti-idling ordinance in an effort to cut pollution. However, year after year protesters can be seen on the steps of the capital in gas and dust masks demanding reform. Their cries seeming to fall on deaf ears. The community wants more and better regulations on the oil refineries, that can be seen billowing smoke just a short jog north of the city. Many believe those changes will never be seen with polluting industries in the pockets of the Politicians. Salt Lake City has a vast and efficient public transportation system. Stretching to connect the three major cities of northern Utah, Provo, Ogden and with Salt Lake City smack dab in the middle. Sadly it is underutilized and why wouldn’t it be when it cost more to ride public transportation monthly that it does to own your own vehicle. I have faith with all the dedicated caring people working so diligently to reform air quality, Salt Lake City will clean up its act but will it be soon enough?

   The effects of pollution span much further than an unsightly or fowl smelling city. The CDC has reported that Utah has the highest rate of autism in the country. Studies have confirmed the increased risk in children of pregnant mothers exposed to pollution. Utah was also ranked 5th in the nation for suicides. Giving it the not so fond title of “The Suicide Belt”. Studies have been confirmed not only here in Utah about the increased risk to suicide based on air pollution but also South Korea, Taiwan and Canada. The studies found and increased rate of suicide in the days following Red Air. More immediate effects can be felt with irritation in the eyes nose and throat. As well as upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Headache and nausea can also be prevalent and effects not only myself but my family after a hour in the city on a red burn day. Other long-term effects can include lung cancer, heart disease, damage to the brain liver and kidneys. Pollution aggravates medical conditions and be a particular source of woe, for people with compromised immune systems. The winters in the city are becoming very similar to cities like Hong Kong. More and more people every year out and about with air filtering masks on.  It's not just the effects of particulate pollution. Pollution you can see but also ozone. Thousands of deaths every year in the US are related to ozone exposure. Salt Lake County ozone levels exceeded the federal standard 52 times from 2012-2014. Utah Averages F for ozone pollution and a D for particle. The American Lung Association relates ozone exposer to something like a sunburn inside your lungs. It is predicted that if we cut our ozone pollution by one third we could potentially save 4,000 lives in the US every year. Emergency rooms are plagued with people suffering the effects of pollution. A tragic blight on society that is largely preventable.

   Where is the solution? The Paris Climate Accord is a step in the right direction. An Agreement with 196 of the world’s nations to drastically cut greenhouse gas emission (Air Pollution). June 2017 was met with a widespread disheartening as Trump announced his intent to withdraw the US from the agreement.  Goldman Sachs Research’s Jaakko Kooroshy believes Trumps withdraw will have little effect on the low carbon goals set in the Paris Climate Accord. Technology and innovation keep pushing forward with clean energy becoming more and more accessible.

“The bottom line here is that politics around climate change and the Low Carbon Economy are likely to remain volatile... But we believe that markets and technologies will continue to be the key drivers behind the accelerating low carbon transition”- Jaakko Kooroshy.

In the end it’s always about the consumer. Lobbing for political change is important but voting with your dollars can be more effective. Paying that extra $20-$50 a month for a public transit pass might be energy better spent than hours on the hill trying to lobby for cheaper transit solutions. Paris has announced a plan that will ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. I do not believe that the US will be that far behind them. With companies like Nissan and now Tesla putting out consumer friendly price point on electric vehicles. It will all come down too choice. If we want people to make better choices for themselves, their neighbors and the environment, we need to be willing to invest the time and resources to educate.

Settling

I can't. There is just so much. I can't be everything I am trying so hard to be. I am wearing to many hats and falling incredibly short on all of them. Overwhelm, Pressure, Expectations, Turmoil has lead to a series of decisions I wish I had never made. I have long prided myself on my superior decision making and skilled logical thinking. Those are lost amid a torrid of misadventures, broken hearts and bad rational. How do I get back? I find myself settling. Veered off from a logical trajectory. Left where I just simply don't want to be. SO the question. Am I settling? Settling to shut out the noise? Settling to lift of some of the mental burden I am currently crippled under? Settling to avoid the fear? As I ask these questions I already know the answer. Like everyone that ever asked advice from a friend, with the prior knowledge of what the right answer is but the unwillingness to act upon it. I know. I know I am settling. Not settling at this point seems. Reckless. Scary. Putting an all in bet on a spring chicken. Tears come easy while the action for change is lost. Spontaneous and assured are how I easily described myself. Now those words don't even seem like me. Has motherhood done this to me? I am no longer the person I was. Suffocated by my own seriousness I no longer play. I no longer breath. Where is the time I tell myself? There is time. There is always time for play. But there is also the immense guilt I feel when I am not working. What the Fuck! I mean really, What the fuck! Am I going to spend the rest of my life stricken with guilt unable to truly enjoy down time. With a brain constantly focused on my career on my "Work". Where is the moment for me? 

I hear all the time that these years that I am in are the most miserable for women. Young children, Floundering careers. Households and expectations, Expectations, Expectations! Assuredly I am ruining the only things I care about despite my best efforts. It is no wonder that I have over the last several months developed debilitating migraines. Migraines that shut me out of the world for 4-5 day with several more days to achingly recover in the real world. That shit sucks. Now with even less time. How will I get anything done? This is nonsense. I need a Vacation. a wealthy and generous Patron, an Assistant, a Manager, a Housekeeper and to move.

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On the plus side Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and I can drown all my sorrows on Turkey, Wine and Tiramisu. 

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

 

Walking In This World: Week 6 & 7 & 8

Week 6: Discovering a Sense of Boundaries

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"Creativity requires vigilant self-nurturing. The damaging impact of toxic inflow must be countered and neutralized. This week's readings and tasks focus on helping us to interact with the world in ways that minimize negativity and maximize productive stimulation."

This week really touched a special note with me. In an age of endless free information. Go go attitudes and the crazy that is social media. I struggle. I struggle with the share. to much, too little, not enough, I struggle with the fear of good ideas being stolen out from under me before I even have a chance to processes them. My social awkwardness bleeds through my screen and I can see it's traces everywhere in my virtual travels. I'll say it.... I am not ashamed. I hate social media. Yes I know and have seen it's merits for building connections and all the exposure it can grant. It's pretty rad when gallerist in Hong Kong, Paris, Australia, London, NYC and Prague are following you on Instagram. There is an impossible reach that is so easily attainable in this digital age. It has given artist more opportunities than were ever possible before, Wi-Fi was on practically every corner. Yet I hate it. The constant need to keep up. To keep your audience engaged. It is so tiresome. It takes away from exactly why I am here.... Art and it all comes back to 'The Work". The work is what truly matters. Nurturing it, breathing it in to fruition and being diligent about it's preservation and exposure in the wide world we live in. 

So I am taking a step back. It makes sense seasonally as the passing of the equinox marks a great turning in. Retreating into ourselves. The sweet slowdown, full of comfort freely given to your soul and your work. Everyone is always asking about my work "Human Form" or what is on my easel or in my sketchbook or rattling around in my brain at any moment. I am going to hold my work tighter from now on. Until I am truly ready to let spread it's wings and go wherever it sees fit. Yes, I might lose followers? My resume my even be sparse this next year as I take a step back. In an effort to make my work "The Work" priority. I have a feeling though that it will be well worth the perceived casualties. 

Week 7: Discovering a Sense of Momentum

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"Creativity thrives on small do-able actions. This week dismantles procrastination as a major creative block. The readings and task aim at a sense of personal accountability and accomplishment. the key to a creative life is sustained, consistent, positive action. This is possible for all of us."

I appreciated this week because it addressed the obsessive love in making. That it can pull you in and take everything from you, like a love affair. Leaving you burnt-out, sore and parched unable to work for weeks on end. Slow and steady Julia suggests. I have been practicing this for the past couple of years but it is always good to have a reminder. For the past several weeks I have been redoing the parlor and yes I am burnt-out and the project is so close to being complete. Throwing myself all in and expending so much energy especially in the beginning, has me withering here at the end. It will get done cause that's how I roll. I have diligently trained myself to push through the pain & discomfort, In hopes of a nice reward. In light of my recent undertaking and more projects planned for the near future, Julia's insights and nudge towards ease does it is appreciated. 

Here is a little sneak at the Parlor

Here we are entering week 8. It's clear I have been slacking on the blogging home front. I haven't spoken to Miss M in two weeks and I am feeling not only like a bad Walking in This World partner but also like a bad friend. Life has taken some interesting turns and sucked up much of my time and energies. I haven't done a single morning page in way too many weeks to mention. While I have done Artist Dates, I didn't last week and my walks have fallen off the radar. I know I have a lot of things on my plate at the moment and am trying hard to be gentle with myself, in light of all my shortcomings this past month. It is hard when you have perfectionist leanings. I tell my kids all the time it's about their effort not the outcome. So this week, Week 8 I'll be reminding myself that it is about the effort, the journey not the outcome or the destination.

Week 8: Discovering a Sense of Discernment

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"This week poses a challenge: Are we actually able to go the distance? To answer in the affirmative we must learn to keep certain demons at bay, most notably success., "the unseen enemy." The readings and tasks of this week aim at naming and declawing the creative monsters that lurk at higher altitudes. Anger in a frequent companion of this week's explorations. As we unmask our villains, we often feel a sense of betrayal and grief. This is replaced my a sense of safety as we name our true supporters more accurately."

Am I actually able to go this distance? I can say Yes, but there is this tinge of doubt, worry, fear. That despite my best efforts, my all in attitude, a diligent work ethic and brilliant ideas spewing from me like a firehouse. I just can't or just won't, for a number of countless reasons I can pull out of thin air. Self-doubt is human and Artist in my experience have a particularly complicated relationship with is. We are asked to question ourselves to improve our work. To always be evolving pushing ourselves just a little bit further. But it can quickly get out of control. She touches on success being an enemy. I witness it in Artist around me and myself. Letting success go to your head can and does kill good work. Incase you haven't gotten it yet. It's about the work. That is why I am here. Why we are here. To make and partake in good work. That gets lost in all the noise of success and keeping up and so many other things, that Julia reflects on in her Artist Way series. I watched a Netflix film over the summer and I just loved it. Every bit of it. "The Incredible Jessica James" There is a part towards the end where she meets one of her idols a Tony Award winning Playwright. Jessica ask her "When did you know that you where going to make it?" The response to this question could not be more perfect. "It's really more about like what does theater actually mean to you?" Jessica "I just love it." "and your doing it. That's why we are here, right? This is it! There's kinda not more to it than that." Ahhh there it is. It has been an always will be about the work.

Hoping this week will be fruitful. It should be interesting to see where this week leads. Especially with all the things swirling around in my universe right now. Wish me luck!

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

 

 

Walking in This World: Week Five

Discovering a sense of personal Territory

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"Saying yes to our creative selves may involve saying no to our significant others. This week focuses on boundaries. The essays and tasks aim at helping us to define our creative identities as opposed to our many other roles. Expect to feel heightened emotions as energy rebounds into your own court."

Hmmmmmmmmm. Bounderies

 

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Walking in This World: Week Four

This is the end of week 4 jumping in to week 5

Discovering a Sense of Adventure

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"This week you are asked to jettison some of your personal baggage. The essays and task are aimed at helping you claim a greater sense of freedom. You will be asked to consciously experiment with open-mindedness. You will dismantle many unconscious mechanisms that may have impeded your artistic expression. You will focus on self-acceptance as a route to self-expression."

To say I needed week 4 might be abit of an understatement. Julia writes "It becomes about perfection and other people's perception, not the joy of the creation, the play of ideas." This is where I have been. Stuck in this place. Paralyzed by expectation and a fear of failing. The problems I have had with my hands this year have with out a doubt put a kink in my work. Beyond that however I feel stuck especially in "The Human Form". My vision of the paintings... In how I want to paint them has morphed. I feel stuck by peoples expectations of the project. Concerned to letdown my patrons. Worried I will disappoint. Which is quite silly because I haven't really discussed painting technique with anyone and I have only posted one portrait of the 26. So what is it? That I am worried they are expecting? Something Grand! and Magnificent that I wont be able to deliver on. 

She has so many little gems in this chapter that just speak to my heart.

"Instead of resisting yourself, try finding yourself irresistible" Umm yes!

"Serious Art requires serious play" also yes!

"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." Truth

 "When we deliberately explore and extend our creative territory, we innovate even further and even more."

While it was a seriously rocky week for all sorts of juicy reasons. It was good. Lots of work and play. I bought a sweet ass pottery wheel. So no need to slum it all the way up to Salt Lake just to throw pots! Got the Goats some decent halters so I can go back to walking them. On my way to fulfilling my dream of a goat drawn carriage. More work, Drama, drama, drama. Work, play, work, work. I've had some good artist dates the past few weeks. Physic readings, UMFA Opening, Sensuous time a the wheel. It's been a bit of a roller coater and although I am tired and still have plenty of work left to do from this week. I am feeling pretty good. This chapter this week seriously uplifted my spirits. Even despite the personal roller coaster I have been on. Leaving week 4 behind and embarking on week 5 I am calling it a win. Even though I didn't write a single morning page.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Can We Talk About Nephi for a Min?

As I am now concluding my 3rd summer here in Nephi. Lamenting the passage of more time spent here. I just need to vent!

Salt Lake City friends ask me all the time still... "Why Nephi?" 

Moving to Nephi was escape from the hustle and the game of the city. I wanted endless landscapes and big skies. Where by heart and mind could be free. 

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I wanted to hear the magic in the rain and revel in the silence that snow brings. I wanted to play with animals and bring Art to people who lack exposure. I wanted to experience life and the passage of time through leaves, flowers, the glorious moon and the inches my children grew. If I could have found my own Walden Pond I would have retreated and never looked back. I wanted to make art in solitude away from judgment and constricting social norms of Utah LDS culture.

Of course I also feel hard and fast for this late 1800's colonial. It stole my heart with all it's sweet details. Like the hardware and wallpaper and faux painted wooden doors. Ooozing with character this old beauty was to delicious to resist. despite the homes lack of endless pastoral fields I truly believed I could make it work. Boy have I tried

When I first moved down here I immediately. Set up for Art Class. Buying tables and chairs. Copious amounts of art supplies. Passing out fliers and offering a killer deal for classes. Making Art easier to access in this rural community. I joined the fine arts council down here. Volunteered at the fair. Worked hard on their Christmas festival and kicked off a gingerbread completion. Also headed up Art in the Park. Bringing in wonderful folk musicians from the city and acquiring a sponsorships from another non profit. I campaigned for a Chalk Art Festival. Going and speaking to the Jr. High and High Schools as well as the business commission. In an effort to bolster involvement. Without a doubt I was investing myself in Nephi. In the wonderful community I was hopping to find here.

To say all my efforts have been in vain is an understatement. The Art in the Park was a flop. The Musicians got on to play and the entire crowd got up and left. What the hell Nephi!? How utterly rude can you be? Did no one teach you any manners? No one signed up for the chalk festival. It was pretty much just me, the Artists I brought in from SLC, The high school Art teacher and another woman from the council. My Class sizes have drastically reduce. It really isn't even worth my time to be teaching down here. It is a joke. My friends husband teaches Art at the elementary here and in Mona. He told me they where looking for an Art assistant and that he thought I should apply. So I did. I sent in my resume, application and letters of reference. I am more than qualified for the position and frankly have so much to offer not only the children of the community but also Nephi as a whole. I did not hear one peep from them. Not even a friendly rejection letter. Apparently I am "TOOO URBAN" to be teaching the young minds of Juab county the color wheel! 

Brad's bakery is finishing up a complete remodel. He and the store manger were talking about the new bread racks, they are about to put in. The old racks have chalk board signs above them. I have been complaining to Brad about the piss poor job done on them since he took the job. The new racks have chalk board also. Brad says to his manager,. "This is my bakery, These are my racks. If another artist is paid to come in and chalk these signs and not my wife, I will be mad. She will be mad. We will be mad." The Manager response something along the lines of. "What is she going to paint naked people?"

As you can see here I am clearly corrupting young innocent minds with Boobs and penises.

As you can see here I am clearly corrupting young innocent minds with Boobs and penises.

Agh! Idiots. Small minded idiots, So no job at the school. Why because I'm too urban? what does that mean? The Store doesn't want me painting their signs, because I might throw a penis or nipple in there? My class sizes started going down when I announced my project "The Human Form". SO naked people that's the problem?! Painting Human bodies makes me Urban? Guess what Nephi we all have bodies that are naturally NAKED!

The Juab School District could use a bit of urban. Perhaps all their students wouldn't have a perpetual sense of a life without opportunity. Perhaps they could acquire some urban teachers that actually spoke proper English, instead of indoctrinating my children with the dreaded... "I Done" and so many other rural Nephi phrases that have the same effect as nails on a chalk board. Perhaps if they found some urbanites, they would also bring in some woke ass fucking people. People who don't stand for bulling or racism. Both of which are extremely prevalent. There is a strong divide in the haves and have not in Nephi. You know what cures poverty? Education. The districts educational choices are clearly lacking. If the millennial generation in Nephi is grossly underemployed, unemployed and baring a heavy, heavy drug problem, when compared statistically to other suburban and urban communities, there is a problem. Brad employs this High schooler. Who until this past spring didn't know so much basic sex-ed. let alone any resources. It is no surprise that so many kids in the very conservative Mormon community are striving to go to BYU. My feelings are that the young girls being sent off there are not prepared and do not have enough education about Life, to be attending one of the most unsafe universities in the county for women. Everything about this town is backwards. The people complain and complain about lack of businesses, things to do and opportunities in town. However when a business moves in or and opportunity presents itself the entire community will shun it. The "Old" families in this town literally get away with everything. The move in are told things like. "No one hires move ins" Braking laws as long as it is innocent fun is ignored. I can't tell you how many times I have been driving in town and seen a young child driving a car. Like 10 years old young! Your right that 10 yr old hasn't hurt anyone yet but what happens when that child hits another child playing in the road because they cant even see over the steering wheel!? Do you really want to find out Nephi? Boy Scouts playing with guns Pointing them at each others faces! Vandalism! So much vandalism and theft! This summer we had two fugitives at separate times loose in our town.... Who were never caught. So many things. There are positives of living here but they are far out weighted by all the bad. It's a damn shame. Nephi you could do better you just choose not to. I look around and I don't see anyone actively caring or taking action against these things. I have and will continue to do so for the remainder of my time here. When I do speak up or take action I am more often than not chastised and harassed. No Surprise. At this point, I would expect nothing less from the community here. *News Flash* People of Nephi you are not creating a better world for your holy posterity. 

This isn't home and defiantly will never be. Nephi has made that loud and clear.  The few friends I do have here don't want me to go. I can't blame them. I am Awesome as Shit and one of the few things Nephi has going for it. But really considering everything can you blame me? This isn't the place. At least not for a talented, free thinking, artist, who isn't afraid of real conversation, the human body or standing up for herself and what she believes,

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So where to next and when? I don't know but I am working on it.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

 

Walking in This World: Week Two

Week One Check In:

I am rather happy to report I am being joined in this adventure by the lovely Miss M. We met during the Artist Way and I am more than excited to have her with me on this journey also. We haven't met yet (for "Walking in this World") but we will!

Tasks:

Most notable task was the final task of the week. I was to do nothing. Take 15 min listen to some music. Let your mind trail where it will and whisper to yourself "I am enough.... I am enough". More than alittle resistant has been seeping through the cracks. No I don't feel I am enough. Nor do I feel like I do enough. To say I am in a constant frantic mode, might be an understatement. Years of enduring a less than ideal marriage has blessed my with a strong poker face. So while I may totally seem like I have my shit together and it all figured out. I don't. I never have and most days, I feel like I never will. So I whisper "I am enough". I do the action. Hollow shallow words is all I feel. Defiantly, no hopeful uplifting insight into my greater worth. Ugh

Artist Date:

I bought myself some makeup! Grandma Jeannine gave Echo some super fun makeup for her Birthday earlier this month. I slightly jealous after doing both Echo's and Isla's makeup, took myself to Ulta for a grown-up rainbow pallet of my very own! 

The vain, egotistical, eccentric me has spent years wondering what is me? The outward version in this case. There is so much talk of branding these days and other such nonsense. Artist go to these art/biz workshops, lectures whatever you want to call them. These people at the podiums are pushing... What is your brand? What is your Brand??? In an effort to get you selling more art. I know it's not just the art industry. It's all industries but I have found it alittle anxiety inducing. Such as, I like this red sweater but is this red sweater me? What if this red sweater doesn't say me... Or scream me!? Maybe I look to conservative for my brand to wear a sweater at all??? I suppose that was the point to make you evaluate yourself and what your are putting out there. I am a bit of a perfectionist. So perhaps I took it alittle to much to heart. In any case I found it. My brand. After all those years of rifling through sweaters, I only kind of liked. It was waiting for me in the isles of Ulta all along.

Sunrise eyes! Mmm, I am IN LOVE with color! Truth is I have always been in love with it. I painted my eyes. Put on a simple black tank and some funky orange leggings and there I am. I feel like myself. I am calling this a successful Artist Date!

Morning Pages: 

I wish I had never stopped writing them. These pages and I, we have a love-hate relationship. I mostly hate them and the mostly love me. I abuse and use them and they just keep coming back. I did 5 out of the 7 days. Another testament to my lack of perfection or my continuing WIP mode. Better next week? Perhaps.

Week Two:

Discovering a Sense of Proportion

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"This week inaugurates an ongoing process of self-definition. As you redraw the boundaries and limits within which you have lived, you draw yourself to a fuller size. Coming into ourselves, we sometimes encounter resistance from those in our immediate environment. The readings and tasks of this week aim at bolstering the sense of a realistic self in the face of difficulty and even discounting."

Last week made for a pretty bumpy start. I get the feeling this trend is going to continue. Life is pretty crazy at the moment and the craziness is spilling into everything. Anything worth while doesn't come easy. So I'll push on.

Being yourself. Saying "Yes" to yourself. Giving your wants, desires, and needs priority, in the face of a tumultuous challenge is anything but easy. Especially when you are responsible for wee ones. It's not about being selfish. Something I am constantly reminding myself of. It's about self-care and acknowledging who you are. "Living your truth" as they say. In the end you leave this world alone. You alone hold the keys of regret and pride to your life. You alone will answer to yourself about how well you lived this life, no one else.

I am an Artist. Dynamic and Intuitive, Explorer, "Leaping with my heart" constantly, Severely unorganized with all things deemed unworthy of my attention, Long Art benders and months of wading through deserts of blank pages are my life. The notes of a song sometimes rain down on me. Other times I pull a form from clay into existence. Ecstatic Dance creeps out of my soul and pours out my spine and limbs. I can get lost for hours on the details coming from my pen pencil or brush from the lines of a leaf. More often than not my voice will fill my home with a melody or words that come from nowhere and everywhere. Stories thick and juicy and fun and short dance through my brain and when I have time they make it onto paper. Light, Oh light. Sometimes it will fall in just the right way that not capturing it's fleeting moment would be sinful. Art is everything to me. I have lived many years trying to act like it wasn't. Like I could be something else. I can't. I was born like this. The need to create is insatiable. Sometimes, Okay most of the time, I get annoyed by life and family getting in the way of my work. I love my children but I often wonder if they would have been better with someone else as there mother. Someone who's thoughts weren't in a state of obsessive creation. I am plagued by the feeling of time never being enough. Not enough hours. To many responsibilities and so on. I hired a housekeeper recently. To relieve just a little bit of my mental and physical load. Best decision I ever made. School starts soon and I think having the kids out of the house (all but one). Out of my studio for 7 hours a day will also help. I'll still have long nights of painting. Nights where I greet the morning sun dreary, from working through the night. Parched and tired but satisfied. Satisfied, that is the high that keeps me going back for more. That and the meditative flow. When you are in the moment. Your brain shuts off and it's just you and the work. It always comes back to that. It's about the work. It's about the work. It's always about the work.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

 

Repair a Torn Canvas Painting

Learn How to Repair a Sad Sad Torn Canvas!

SO I made a video. It's my thing now. Watch the video or read onwards, on how to save your beloved canvas.

As you can see below, the aftermath of kids and wind and foolishness. Why let a pricy canvas and time spent roughing in go to waste? We can repair that little jackass of a tear. 

You will need 3 things:

One, a piece of canvas cut bigger than your rip. I like my patch to form a good inch buffer surrounding the rip.

Two, Gesso or an acid-free glue like a ph neutral PVA or even acid-free Elmer's will work if you aren't the fussy type. I prefer gesso because of it's efficiency in that I do not have to gesso the tinny bit on the front of my canvas again.

Three, your sad sad torn canvas.

After you have your canvas patch piece cut. You should flip over your canvas laying it flat. (If you are working with a finished or near finished piece of artwork. Please, protect it by putting something soft down for it to lay on, to prevent scratching) On the back of the canvas apply a coat of your adhesive material, to your rip and the surrounding area. Be generous enough that your canvas patch can fit comfortably over top of the adhesive layer. Center your canvas patch over your rip and gently press, to ensure adhesion and remove air bubbles. Coat the top and sides of your patch with adhesive. Make your layer thin and even. Turn your canvas back over and wipe away any excess adhesive from the front of your canvas. Allow to dry and recoat twice allowing to dry in-between coats. Gesso the front as needed and get to painting!

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Photography

My Momma the other day "You are never going to draw again!". The words hung sticky and sad. Weighting me down. I know those words weren't meant to hurt me. They were coming from a place of fear. Her fear, not mine. Yet they did sting. Somehow I was no longer living up to her divine destiny for myself. This feeling has kept me from so many things these past decades. Now I am taking a position of choice, not obligation to follow or disregard these vast and varied hesitational fears from those I love and respect. In honor of myself, my happiness and my life.

These words were brought on by a purchase. I had Just bought a new camera. I am in love with it! Beautiful dynamic range. Images sharp as a tack. A sophisticated tool to help me achieve not only my goals but my artistic vision. While I do posses a spontaneous side. I someone obsessively mull over decisions. I enjoy being educated, informed, knowledgeable about whatever I am about to undertake. This camera was no different. I weighted the cost, image quality, handling, warranty, manufacture, on and on and on. An exhausting amount of hours and brain energy went into the purchase of this camera. I should think my obsessive self for sparing me for buyers remorse. All of this effort put towards this decision felt deluded and in vain at the mercy of her words.

Yet, I am happy. But maybe not everyone else is. They have ideas, these other people. Notions of what and how my life should be. These ideas coming from other people have been plaguing me for far to long. I know I am not the only artist in the history of the world, to suffer at the words of others. And I know I will not be the last. The key is to acknowledge then choose. Choose to heed their calls of dissatisfaction or not. I am thankful for my weeks and moments spent in "The Artist Way". The insights I have gained. As well as the friendships I formed. It has been pivotal to this moment now. This moment of disregarding others vision of my life and supposed happiness.

You see I have always loved. I mean LOVED Art! All forms, textures and layers. The theater excites me. Music has the power to bring me to tears. The artistic vision of a fine chef can be enlightening sensual and broad. The written word is like directly speaking to someone's soul. It is my belief that Art is where humanity truly lives. In the expressed pain and beauty of those not only sharing it but also those witnessing and partaking in the Art. I would do it all in a heartbeat. Write, act, sing, document, craft, build, paint, sculpt, make, design on and on. I would leave no stone unturned, no medium left unexplored. Perhaps that is a life goal of mine.

When those words left my beautiful mothers lips. I was taken back to all the times before, when I was more or less told "No, Not you". My Aunt gave me my first camera when I was 11. A little Kodak, It was awesome!  

I should buy this one off of ebay!

I should buy this one off of ebay!

and then another lovely camera when I was a teenager. These cameras gave me the power to stop the world. To freeze, magnify and explore my vision of what I experienced. Rolling out the film, slipping it to its designated home inside my camera. The snap and subtle shake of the shutter. Popping the rolled film out, The weight of the film in my hand and anxiously taking it to be developed and waiting even more anxiously for the development to be complete. The glossy metallic feel of the negatives. The bulk of a folder full of photographs waiting to be mulled through. Have you ever torn a photograph? Of course you have! Even the feeling of ripping a photograph is so satisfying. These little precious objects, printed paper. that when it is good and right, it is cherished preserved. Passed down. 

The process. I love process and I love the process of photography. I excitedly took photography in high school. The scientist in me falling in love with the chemical reactions. It seemed like the perfect melding of my love of Art and Science. I started to more clearly flush out a career direction, a life direction. Who knows how old I was when I first peeked inside a National Geographic. Small tot I am sure. Without a doubt I was in awe. I can not recall ever not wanting to be those people. Not the ones you see but the ones behind the lens. I was stepping into something that spoke to me. That called to my heart. Yet is was all brushed aside so quickly. By words. Words of friends and loved ones. "But your thing is art, not photography" "Why do you have to take everything" "But you're not planning on doing anything with it" "This is just a phase you'll get over it" "Your painting are so much better". I stopped photography to stop the words. To stop the hate and the shame. Their tactics worked. What a shame isn't it. All those years hiding a passion away like a dirty secret. Even now I feel the residual hesitation when I post a photo on social media.

I believe Art is like Love. There is enough for everyone! In it lies pain and heartache but also beauty and worth. My love for photography does not diminish my own love of painting or anything else. Nor does it diminish your own. My love of painting does not make your love of painting or want of painting any less worthy. There is enough for everyone. Humanity becomes richer for every artistic input. regardless of skill level or talent. I want to live in a world thick of Artistic visions. Thankful that we do. So add yours. Cause I am adding mine.

 

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Let Us Talk Ethics

I am not one for picking fights but this bullshit needs to be called out.

Attended an art event recently. I have been to these events numerous times over the years. Won gallery space, shows and hard cash monies. So I am familiar, The people are familiar. I have made friends. More or less I know what to expect from the people and the Art. What I did not expect was to attend this event and sit through, and participate with a guest speaker that was devoid of all Ethics. Having sat through this speaker for the third time, I reflect on my other experiences with this individual. First engagement I distinctly remember coming away thinking "What an idiot." The Second I tried hard to put forth a fresh perspective prior to the presentation. On the account of all my art aquatints having major hard-ons for said individual. Hoping I might find what I was clearly missing. Once again left unimpressed to say the least. This third and final time it was evidently clear, I was being to generous with my previous assumptions about this Artist. Prick would be a perfect pet name for an individually displaying such an unapealing ego.

The event.

I'll be honest I wouldn't call myself invested in these events, at least not the way I once was. Why would I be? My Career is not in the same place it was 4 years ago. However, my sweet Daughter loves these events. The Art, The People, The Vote, The Suspense, The Food. She love it because we can share our love for Art, just her and I. This aspect has kept me, us coming back. I am sure we will go again. After all the event doesn't have me in a tizzy the speaker does.

Last month I won.  So it made sense to take her this month. Not only to get my piece that had been hanging in the gallery for the last month but to have some mother daughter time. We shuffled about looking at art as we always do.  She gorged herself on cookies and rice-crispy treats with the occasional carrot. We voted. Something she particularly loves. The ability to choose. And yes if I'm showing she votes for me, Not because I ask her too (because i don't) but because she loves me. Obviously. We sat down in front. She loves to be in the action and so do I. I am a participatory kinda person so when asked for participants. Yes, gladly. Our evening had been quite lovely up to this point. 

Now lets call the person of interest DB for Douche-bag (call em' like you see em") After a list of announcements DB enters. In his typical, I don't give a fuck about any of you swagger, While a walk can't really be framed unethical it was rather douchey. I won't torture you with DB presentation verbatim. I will give you the juicy highlights. First he asked "Us" (a group of willing volunteer artist) "What is success to you as an Artist". Many gave fluffy feel good answers coated in altruistic fear (I speak from experience, I was one of them once). Like.... for my art to touch people.... To be able to freely do what I love and so on. My answer Money and recognition. Okay I thought I can see where DB is going success is more than feel good feelings and I agree with that.

Then somewhere lost in his ego he went off. Asking people how they price their work. Let it be known pricing artwork is deeply personal and deeply emotional, Criticizing someones price point is to criticize someones worth. I will say I don't agree with emerging artist trying to sell their practice. Doodles, rambling, thoughts and so on. If you are going to criticize an art and money scenario it should be along those lines. As an Artist you run a business. I don't know any successful business trying to make a living off products and services that are not finely tuned. I believe Ethics come into play here. Treat your work with the utmost respect. Show your mistakes, doodles and whatnot, sure, yes. But don't sell them. 

Back on point. In front of crowd not only did he say that we needed to price our work to make a living. Yes I agree. But then proceeded to insult my personal pricing. Turning to "Three's Company". Still hanging behind his head and said "I think they printed your pricing wrong. There are 4 digits here, There are supposed to be 3. $500......" All nonchalantly like what he was saying was perfectly acceptable. “What?!” is all that managed to roll through my brain.

"Three's Company" 

"Three's Company" 

I wasn't the only person DB insulted that night. Although I wonder if a collective following kept them from realizing it. He insulted realistic painters, impressionism, someone who hired him and every artist in the room when he said,... Without any knowledge of their portfolios or work practices, that they will never make it because they aren't committed and that none of them work enough. DB is a grade A Prick. He gave nothing of value, and clearly had no real desire to be there. So why was he? 

It is Unethical to Insult someone who gave you money for a product or service. Note: You are not exempt from this just because your client lives in another state.

It is Unethical to criticize entire genres of art and preach to emerging artist that pursuing one of those genres means you will never be successful. Note: I can point you in the direction of numerous realistic and impressionistic painters who are quite successful. 

It is Unethical and just plain Ass-hatish to criticize  someone on their price point. While simultaneously preaching about a living wage. Note: Who the fuck are you? No seriously? You aren't relevant even though your ego is duping you into believing so. 

Hard at work

Hard at work

DB you stood up there voicing your distaste for "boring art" The funny thing is is that your art is quite boring. you are the Thomas Kinkade (not in pocketbook I am sure) of the hipster world. The Lisa Frank of Salt Lake (though not as popular). After further thought those comparisons are being too generous with you. What am I trying to say you are predictable. Boring, A few more years and your art will be nothing but kitsch. You possess no growth and clearly after seeing you speak for not one, not two, but three times, you don't have the ability for growth.

All those Artist. The ones you insulted in that room will change, grow and blossom. You DB are done. You hold no more surprises. Yes, you insulted me and Artist who I advocate for. Yet I pity you. Your narrow view on what is and isn't an acceptable life, wage, practice, style and mindset of an artist. These views of yours, keep you in your box. That box is the reason why you will never be anything more than what you are. 

Please enjoy "Old Nut" that won the night of your regrettable speech. Feel free to enjoy it for the next month in the gallery where it will be hanging. 

What do you think?

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

7 essential steps to a Morning Practice

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Not all mornings are perfect. No one is waking up. In a garden surrounded by happy little animals. Hair perfectly quaff sporting a birthday suit most would be envious of. No one has all their shit together. Things don't always go right.  The beauty in living is that all the imperfect is not only okay, but keeps things sexy, honest and vibrant. We are fabulously flawed and so are our lives. Having a game plan, whether we follow it to the letter or not, puts us in the right direction. That is why this is a practice because you have to keep practicing. You might never master the perfect morning. But you will master the ease of starting your day. Let us consider that perfection lies in the process: mistakes, mishaps, hangups and all. 

Pregame*

it's wonderful to have a bed time ritual. some people take a hot shower to wash off the day, Maybe herbal tea is your thing. I am partial to a good old foot rub. This small bit of self care at the end of the day sets me up for better sleep than if I had foregone it. Pick something, anything 5 or 10 min is usually sufficient. 

Take sometime gathering your thoughts for the next day. Make a mental to do list of your top three priorities for the coming day. mine unusually go something like this. Art-Work, Clean something, show my children more love. Sometimes it's more specific like do 3 loads of laundry. or spend extra Time with Ash. but you get the gist.

take 10 min before bed assessing your top goal or a looming issue you are trying to resolve. Let your brain take a crack at it while you sleep

Go to bed no later than 7 hrs before you intend on waking-up

unplug!!!! 60 minutes before bed. give your circadian rhythm a break from all the artificial light.

Set your alarm. place it across the room. added bonus if your phone doubles as your alarm. giving you another reason not to stay up and scroll in bed.

Sleep! Ah that was nice!!! 

Mmmmm Eggs! 

Mmmmm Eggs! 

  1.    2-10 minutes in prayer/meditation. The conscious act of gratitude is a beautiful thing. What better time to practice it than first thing in the morning? Beginning the day by thanking God, The Universe or people in your life, brings the uplifting power of abundance to your day. Now is also a good time to ask your ask. "Show me how to be more present." "Help me find the money, for a new roof." "Give me the confidence to present my proposal at work." "Help me be efficient and prolific with my time." "Give me good news at the Doctors office." Big or small if it's weighing on you ask. You have to put it out there to get something back. Leave this with a mindset of all the good and abundance that is awaiting you this day.
  2.    Morning pages/Journal. This is one of my favorites. There is no wrong way to do this. You should spend 15 min or 3 pages which ever comes first. Writing whatever it is you want to write. It can be a mind dump of whatever is rattling around up there. An overview of the day before and the day ahead. creative writing, list making. Whatever it is it does not matter. The worth (as with everything) is in the doing. My pages change. Some days it is a bunch of nonsense scattered with angry hangups. Some days its everything I love to eat. Some days its a hodgepodge of goals, short stories and random thoughts. It is all good! Since my practice of morning pages has begun, I have been more centered, focused & true to myself. I would recommend writing your goals/dreams in the present tense when they pop up. "I am making....." "I have....." "I am going....." "I AM ......"
  3.    15 Minutes getting your heart rate up. Running, Squats, Stairs, Jumping jacks. Whatever floats your boat just get moving and get that heart rate up!
  4.    Eat! Load up on protein and water. I have been battling anemia most of my adult life. 3 eggs first thing in the morning has been my answer to this. Protein first thing helps give you the stamina you need for the rest of the day. 18-30g is a good goal to shoot for.
  5.    Cold shower. I don't always have time for a full on shower but I always have time for a rinse. Either-way, The last 30-60 seconds, turn is cold and relax. Breathe deep and focus on the tension being washed away. 
  6.    Read or Listen to uplifting media.  If I am reading I usually do this after my morning pages. If I am listening I do it while working out or eating just depends. If the content makes you feel good consume it!
  7.    ROCK IT! Rock your day like nobodies business! 

Bonus* If you have time take 30-60 minutes to roll out the mat and deepen your morning practice with yoga. It is a great time to find balance and set your intention for the day.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Loss

How do you morn your losses? Any loss. Big or small. Do you morn it? or just push on through? I Push. That is my nature. "Don't cry over spilt milk" they say. So I don't. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" So I Bury it down. deep deep down and beef up. I am so good at this, the evidence of disturbed soil is almost non-existent . No clues as to the debilitating emotional massacres lurking among the roots and worms.

Perhaps I am not as good at it as I would like to think. Another adage "Fake it till you make it" (and I do quite often). If I am Honest there are far to many "Whys" in those buried crime scenes. No one likes to admit a wounded ego. It's shameful. Defeating, So I won't, even though mine is.

If those carcasses just can't seem to compost, like they are supposed to. Then what? Do I exhume the horrors from below? Resurrect them? Do I build them a shrine? Where I can hit my knees and pray to the Gods of Success and Failure "Please, Please, not again". Or perhaps a funeral prior, Where I can send all the defeat to the angels. To be dealt with by heavenly grace. Something I have no proficiency in.

I like that, surrendering my loss to something greater than myself. After all I am just a lowly Homo sapien . Clinging to this planet for dear life. flinging paint and profanities like a monkey flings poo. I need all the help I can get. We all do.

Protip: Fuck spelling when venting your bullshit.

Protip: Fuck spelling when venting your bullshit.

I wrote them down one by one. Filling up the pages with the marks of my failure and loss. Built a pretty shameful smokey fire and threw them in one by one. They burned fast! Smoke and flames. Before I new it all my pain had turned to ash. 

Here is to not forgetting the power in letting go

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

Showing up

To put it lightly I had a few mind fucks from keeping me from working/starting/finishing/ just plan old showing up to my work. This project just being birthed has already put me through the wringer. However after fighting this hard to get back on the horse. This bitch isn't bucking me off again.

It's all kind of fitting, that this week is the week. I am on week 8 of The Artist Way and its all about strength. Showing up. Maybe you can't for whatever reason, do everything, but you can do something. Well I finally showed up at my easel and oh how I missed her. She beings me moments of quiet reflection, in a house that has numerous little humans bouncing of the walls. She has a way of wiping away every worry. Will they like it? Will they hate it? Is this to you know? Or what about the laundry.? What if this and what if that?! It goes on and on.

But when I show up to my easel she promises me one thing. Maybe no great inspiration maybe no lightning bulb moments but always always she gifts me a free mind. I love that. I cherish that. Art is my escape. My respite and reprieve, from all the crazies and craziness. I get the same thing to an extent with yoga. The difference is I am always pushing myself in yoga. Go deeper hold it longer. Faster flow, slower flow and so on. When I show up to the easel I just am. I don't really ask anything of myself. I am just a vessel waiting to be filled or waiting to be unfilled or just being. The easel never expects or asked anything of me besides just showing up and that I can do. Women are expected to handle other peoples shit. I am expected to handle other peoples shit. Not at the easel. At the Easel its about the work and the divine. Everything else is just muted static.

It seems I need reminding more often than not that just the act of showing up is so empowering. Great Artist are often asked to give advice to those just starting out. The phrase "Do the work" is repeated time and time again. "Here HERE!" I say. Show up and do the work. You will be blessed with more than a product. To finding Grace and Strength in work.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

The Artist Way

6 weeks now I have been delving into my deeper self. Exploring, trudging through the muck climbing a few blissful hills. All and all it has been an experience I am thankful for. There is value in time spent with and for yourself. 

This week MONEY. Really it's about abundance. One of the task is to keep track of every cent and it's purpose. Simultaneously I feel bad about not spending/investing in myself/happiness as well as shamed for how I spend my money. Revelations have proceeded about my views on money. I believe (for whatever reason) that money must be rightfully earned. by which I mean toiled for. By the sweat of your brow. Something aquired through blood, sweat and tears. Who really wants to live hand to mouth in such a way? No one. Who wishes such a straining existence on another person? No sane person. Yet here I am wishing it? 

I sold a piece several months ago that I have been feeling guilty for. The pricing of my work is consistent with size and medium. This piece was no different. Except it was. I did not toil. There were no late nights of anguish staring at the piece analyzing it to death. there was no pre-planning. No fore thought towards execution. It was all action and impulse. Most of all it was enjoyable. There it was the reason for my guilt and shame. Enjoyment. 

Do artist take pride in the suffering? Casting themselves as an altruistic martyrfor the creative cause? This perception of money needs to end. Money is just a tool. having or not having it doesn't make you better or worse for it. It might make your life more comfortable but it won't make you any kinder to that stranger on the train. 

While it's only midweek and more revelations (I am sure) are in store. The big take away this week: Make peace with my inner war on money. I will be joyful in the sell of artworks. When work equals play I will show gratitude for such a blessing. Rejoicing in the abundance I receive in return. Reveling in the pieces of me I have let go. That bring value and enjoyment to the lives of others. This week I start lovingly accepting abundance in all it's forms. Because life was meant to be abundant and joyful.

I bought my self some India ink and nibs as abit of abundance this week. Playful practice May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired Dawn

I bought my self some India ink and nibs as abit of abundance this week. Playful practice

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn

The Work Begins

Glorious! With a studio packed full of naked canvas, the work begins, It is exciting and daunting to undertake such a large project. Daily I have doubts. Doubting I will do the work justice. Doubting my authenticity, my talent, my vision, on and on and on.  

Others that have come before me, lead me forward. Encouraging me through the written word to press on. As I am reminded what matters. THE WORK. The work is all that matters answering the call, stepping up and into action. And giving what our culture has so lovingly embraced "ZERO FUCKS". So I press on in purpose, with reason and fire. 

After breaking through the initial doubts and hesitation. To find myself engulfed in the work, surrounded by velvety pigments and stained bristles tickling the canvas. My mind is quite, my soul is in the flow and nothing else matters. Hunger and thirst are but an annoyance to be squished. Words spoken to me are like waves, washing over stones, unable to seep in. All that matters is the WORK.

I pray that my heroes of the page will be there to lift me up. When I am deeper in the muck, lost in the throws of work, that only seems to press on. With no merciful end in sight. Hope that by divine grace I will be given the stamina it takes to complete such an under taking. 

In the mean time there will be Isla's antics and her adorable bum to lift my spirits.

May your heart be light, your hands never idle and your mind inspired
Dawn