Sing, Anyway

DSCF3146Here at Full Moon Cottage, we have been singing up some glorious sunrises this week.

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DSCF2909I should correct that. Riley and Phillip have been singing, gloriously. Clancy and I bark, enthusiastically.

DSCF3089As for the cats, Murphy only sings like Johnny-One-Note when he’s locked himself in another room; Mulligan and Fergus have lovely voices; Finny has an eerie pre-furball ejection song, and Fiona apparently believes life is a silent movie.

But Clancy and I sing, anyway. We enjoy it. We bark at the sunrise and at the dogs’ nemesis, Bertie the Squirrel, and his Gang.

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I was thinking about this during today’s howling blizzard. We felt sorry for Bertie, so we didn’t bark at him today. In fact, we tossed a few extra sunflower seeds out there, in an effort to keep our nemesis going strong.

DSCF3277So, no visible sunrise this morning, but we’ve been cozy, hanging out and making art. I was asked to teach art class to our after school group this year, grades 2 – 5. I love it, although I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a visual artist. (Which is why I love photography; I can [try to] capture scenes that take my breath away, but that I can’t reproduce with paint or any other media.)

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DSCF1553I can design; I can teach about talented artists; I can come up with fun lessons; and the fact that my examples are less than stellar removes any intimidation factor: the kids have responded most enthusiastically and with amazing gifts. They can tell how much I enjoy fiddling with color and pattern, and how little I care that I’m not the “best” among our group. We just have fun.

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DSCF1534For many years, I denied myself the joy of playing with art materials because I knew the end result would fall so very short of what I imagined. I had a great, but rigorous elementary education, and it remained rigorous when we had “art class,” once every week. By the end of September during my first grade year, I had learned I wasn’t an “artist.”

But time kind of strips away such self-judgment  and doubts, doesn’t it? And life is so much more fun, as a result. We’re all as capable of making art as we are of making love, and the results needn’t be measured or judged in either undertaking, so much as deeply enjoyed. The pleasure derived from creativity, or making something unique (and therefore, holy) from nothing but love, is a gift no one should be denied.

Today I made some Kandinsky-inspired circle trees, a chalk cityscape, and a paint-blob creature.

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DSCF3215Oh, and—inspired by the storm–I painted these tiny owls in a tree “printed” with bits of cardboard. I can’t wait to see what my students create from these ideas!

DSCF3206And I designed a barn wood caddy to hold these twelve cream jars I bought at an antique store last summer. I wanted it for my dining table, so I can put garden flowers in the jars as a centerpiece. In-between shoveling and snow-blowing, Phillip used our blizzard-day to finish some carpentry for clients, but he also took time to create this for us:

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 Perfect! Hooray for the artist!

DSCF3280I’m grateful for the snowy day and the time it afforded us to make art. Actually, Clancy and I prefer to think we barked down the storm. Who says we can’t sing? We love it, and we’ll sing, anyway.

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12 thoughts on “Sing, Anyway

  1. Wonderful as always Kitty….Your talents abound. Love your art work immensely.
    Loved the trees looking up into the snowy sky. I guess that is what it is.Great colors. Glad to hear Clancy is singing/barking along with you. Glad also you gave Bertie some extra seeds!!! The snow storm is getting ready to pummel us tomorrow. I guess 12 to 18 inches. Rather weary of shoveling this winter. I have been ordering garden seeds to keep myself staying positive. Tell Phillip he did a fabulous job on the bottle carrier! Really nice and I can see it now come summer with flowers peeking out of the bottles. Stay warm and keep singing at Full Moon Cottage 🙂 Take care…Blessings and <3…VK

    • Thank you, VK, especially for recognizing Phillip’s gifts! Clancy is doing OK on meds and extras we’re providing. 🙂 Happy and grateful.

      Our snow was a windy mess, but fairly-well cleared , although a lot of schools stayed closed till mid-morning. I know your winter has been tougher regarding snowfall, so I hope your garden seeds and dreams feed your spirit and keep it bright: need your light in the world. Bless you.

    • Thanks, Paul; takes one to recognize another, no? It’s the way we look at the world, take it in, and share our energy, maybe. Everyone’s born an artist, but it seems the systems we’ve chosen to manage our societies and culture do a grand job of shaming that creative impetus out of us fairly early…

  2. I particularly like the ‘I love Snow’ fellow, singing with open mouth, and the photo of your Nemesis outside, facing the cruel storm… May you all have courage in the winter, and find warmth in love and simple joys.

  3. Thank you, Shimon. The children amaze me with their fearless, joyful immersion in these projects, which says a lot about the art education they’ve received in their early school years…just wonderful what’s happening in school art departments (usually one teacher!) these days. Hooray for these gifted, talented and open-minded teachers/artists!

  4. Well….what an amazingly inspiring post, so very uplifting!
    Hahahaha, how wonderful to think of you all singing and barking to the sunrise….such images are evoked!!! Ha!! And as for the eerie pre-furball ejection song….there are NO words!!! Brilliant stuff, I LOVE it!
    How gloriously plump Bertie is, thanks God for sunflower seeds….and you!
    Wow…..your art and ideas for lessons are fantastic, how unique and individual….
    I run workshops for kids with special needs, and I never use pencils….anything else goes. I love kids working on big pieces in groups too swirling paint with their fingers….it’s so freeing for them as art in schools can be so tidy and boring!
    I love the branches and snow in the swirling blue and the I love snow cards….and WOW, your chalk cityscape would inspire anyone….I may throw away my paintbrush and grab me some cardboard now….
    Ahhhh….how gorgeous is that wooden caddy, how talented Philip is….maybe you could add some little tealight candles in some of those lovely jars too to highlight the flowers….I’d like to see it complete with flowers!
    Now what a sweet little bird to end on….just like my avatar….a snowbird!xxx

  5. Oh, Dina, thank you for your kind words. I wish I could take an art class with you!

    I have a group Keith Haring-inspired project I hope to do before the end of the year. I agree that group art is powerful. We’re finishing the black/white Valentine “quilt” this week…their patterns are amazing; I’m so excited to see the finished pieces. (One heart is missing, so the title is, “You Have Stolen My Heart.”)

    We do sing up a storm in the morning; I suppose I should take a video and save it. 🙂 But it’s so much fun to be in-the-moment. More fun in winter with the windows closed. In summer, we’ve caused bikers and runners to have near-accidents as they crane their necks to see where, um…all the beautiful music is coming from.

    I do love my flower caddy: lights are a great idea!

    The last bird is a dark-eyed junco: is that what your snowbird is, too? I do love them so.

    Bertie is hamming it up a bit in the storm photo. Must have been reading Dickens. He really has it quite good here at Full Moon and hits all three feeders on the deck most mornings.

    Blessings to you and your week: May it be merry, and may we see tattoo photos, if appropriate. 🙂

  6. I love this post! My friend, Darci, taught kindergarten for 30 years, and recently retired,not because she was ready to, but because Common Core had sucked the joy out of it for her. She, like you, made wonderful projects with her classes. Now, she’s exploring her “inner artist.” Daniel’s wife, Silke, did something similar a few years ago, and her work has become a great source of joy for her. I hope you’ll tell the critic to shut up and recognize that you are an artist! Tell Phillip I love the caddy he built!

  7. Oh, thank you, TJ: I have so many wonderful artist friends, like you, and Dina, so it feels so good to receive your positive and encouraging comments. I think the energy of menopause opens doors and pathways to creativity, too…Becoming an elder, a wise-woman, is a conscious choice, and–for me–the steps/groundwork include courage in expressing, creatively (because so much life wisdom gained by this age is unable to be conveyed by words, or is held in the subconscious and even unconscious), our deepest “is-ness.” Intuition has become a much more trusted companion than I allowed her to be when I was younger. She was always there, but I pushed her away; now, we’re in constant communication. 🙂

  8. Awwww….I love that quilt idea! And the fact that runners and cyclists are somewhat startled by the erm…..erm….singing!!!! How fun it would be to do a workshop together…..the kids wouldn’t get a lookin!
    Ahha….a junco….I don’t know what my one is, I found it on the internet, I should have used one of the rescued birds…but I’m fond of it now!!!xxx

  9. OMG: Co-Teachers…first the workshop, then off to a great pub, afterward!

    I LOVE your bird icon; it’s perfect!

    Happy Full Moon…right after Imbolc and on a gorgeous sparkly-snowing night!

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